4 Healthy Reasons to Read

For any self-proclaimed bookworm, the thought of going more than a few days without a book in hand seems downright unthinkable. Unfortunately though, according to a recent poll, a whopping 28 percent of individuals failed to read even one book last year.

While taking on an epic novel or tackling the latest autobiography may be the last thing on your never-ending to-do list, there’s plenty of scientific evidence out there touting the benefits of slipping in a few pages here and there.

Reading improves your relationships. We’re not talking about analyzing the latest romance novels here, but recent research has found that those who pick up a good book are better able to read the emotions of others than nonreaders.

This improved “theory of mind” fosters healthy relationships and improves one’s ability to interact in a complex society. Furthermore, another study found that readers of fiction who feel “emotionally transported” into the story are more empathetic towards others than those who aren’t as swept away by their characters’ lives. So if you’re feeling like your social life is lacking, you may want to make a trip to the bookstore.

A good book will help you catch some z’s. Researchers at the University of Sussex found that picking up a good book beat out traditional relaxing activities like drinking a cup of tea or listening to music.

For fans of fast-paced action stories, you’re in luck; researchers point out that you don’t have to select a dull text in an effort to be lulled into sleep. Any story that will take your mind off the external pressures of life will do the trick. Sleep experts agree that one of the best ways to ensure a good night’s rest is to de-stress before bedtime.

Reading exercises your brain. Similar to any muscle, the less you exercise your brain the more likely it is to weaken and become susceptible to disease. A study published in the online edition of the journal, Neurology, found that individuals who engaged in mentally stimulating activities such as reading experienced less cognitive decline than those who didn’t.

Also, the age-related memory-loss was even less for those who continued to exercise their brains throughout old age, versus those who read more only as young people. Researchers also believe that reading may help ward off diseases like Alzheimer’s, as there is an association between brain stimulation and reduced instances of the disease.

Readers enjoy better physical health. According to a University of Stavanger article, avid readers often enjoy better physical health. Whether it be from a print-based journal, magazine or an online newsletter, most people obtain nutritional or medical advice by reading it somewhere.

bookFurthermore, those who are more literate garner more information due to their greater vocabulary and reading comprehension skills. Individuals who read less miss out on important nutritional and exercise advice, guidelines and recommendations. And while you can’t believe everything you read, reading something is usually better than reading nothing at all.

-The Alternative Daily

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