When is the last time you read a book? If your answer is junior year of high school, you are certainly not alone. Busy schedules and modern lifestyles do not often leave time for leisure activities like reading, and according to a recent study of 1000 U.S. adults, 28 percent hadn’t touched a book in the past year. But perhaps reading is one of those things we should make time for, because it carries with it a handful of both mental and physical benefits. Check them out, and consider reprioritizing your schedule so you can enjoy the simple things more often!
Reading is relaxing. It doesn’t take a scientific study to prove it. However, research does in fact support this, and found that reading is more effective at reducing stress levels than activities like music listening or sipping tea. And managing stress is crucial to overall health and wellness. Excess stress is linked with all kinds of chronic health issues, including cardiovascular disorders, weight gain, and hair loss. So if you are feeling overwhelmed or burdened by life’s ups and downs, grab a good book for the sake of your own wellbeing.
In addition to short term benefits like stress management, reading can also provide long term benefits as well. Research shows that reading from a young age can help ward off cognitive decline and diseases of aging like Alzheimer’s and dementia. Just like physical exercise, regular brain exercise like reading helps keep the “muscle” strong and active. Because the brain is an organ, the way you treat it is important to its health in the long run. Drink too much alcohol? Your liver will pay the price. Eat too many fatty foods? Your heart will not take kindly to that. Similarly, if you avoid challenging your brain with activities like reading and doing puzzles, it won’t be as sharp and acute and is it capable.
One of the more interesting research findings in relation to reading is that those who regularly picked up a book were more able to experience an empathetic response to those in difficult situations. An increased sense of empathy could be the result of intense emotion in books, and can lead readers to become more in touch with their personal feelings.
*Disclaimer: Always consult your physician or other health care professional before seeking treatment or taking related advice herein.*
Story Credit: 7 Unconventional Reasons Why You Absolutely Should Be Reading Books by Laura Schocker
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