Who doesn’t love to snuggle up with coffee or hot cocoa with a good book?
If you are one of the few who still enjoy curling up with a good book, you are taking advantage of one of the most powerful health-promoting habits you can have.
It turns out that reading books is about more than just having fun, enjoying a story, or learning something new. Recent scientific analysis of reading have determined that enjoying a good book can help you live longer and healthier!
1. Reading a book reduces stress, and puts you in a better mood.
Reading is one of the best ways to reduce stress and relax. The Journal of Psychosomatic Research published a study in 1992 that studied common methods of stress relief and their effectiveness. Alongside exercise and Tai Chi, reading proved to be an effective stress reducer.
This idea was further confirmed in a 2009 study by Dr. David Lewis at the University of Sussex, who determined that reading was more effective at reducing stress than listening to music, playing video games or going for a walk. Dr. Lewis’s research is discussed in an article published in the Telegraph.
2. Having trouble remembering where you put those keys? Reading enhances your memory.
Scientists reporting their findings in the academic journal Neurology determined that frequent readers are less likely to experience cognitive impairment in old age. The study of almost 300 people determined that those who exercised their brains frequently with cognitive tasks like reading had an over 30% lower rate of memory loss compared to those who did not perform frequent mental activity. People who did not frequently exercise their cognitive abilities were almost 50% more likely to have brain-related problems in old age.
3. Hobbies that challenge your brain help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
As a study reported by the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America reports, people who didi not make use of their cognitive abilities in midlife had higher rates of Alzheimer’s disease later on.
“The brain is an organ just like every other organ in the body. It ages in regard to how it is used,” lead author Dr. Robert P. Friedland told USA Today. “Just as physical activity strengthens the heart, muscles and bones, intellectual activity strengthens the brain against disease.
In other words, things like playing chess or reading are awesome ways to exercise your brain and are some of the best ways to prevent cognitive degeneration.
4. Relaxing your brain helps you sleep better.
Reducing stress through reading is the perfect way to relax and help yourself fall asleep. Stress is a leading cause of insomnia according to the National Sleep Foundation, which recommends multiple stress reduction techniques before bed time including picking up a good book.
It’s disappointing that more people don’t read. Exercising your mind is just as important to your physical and mental health. With so many stress-related disorders popping up everywhere—including health-killing insomnia—reading appears to be the perfect stress reducer to help alleviate the burden of everyday life.
We’re surrounded by electronics and there are few moments to escape and relax away from the fast-paced 21st century world. Pick up a good book, exercise your cognitive ability, relax, and your brain and body will thank you.