Reading brings about many different benefits, from de-stressing the mind to improving language skills, but there is one extremely advantageous benefit that many are not aware of. A recent study carried out by the Yale University’s School of Public Health showed that people who regularly read books, rather than magazines or newspapers, add an extra two years onto their lifespan when compared to those who do not read, giving you the perfect excuse to begin spending your evenings curled up with a good book.
Results of the Study
The study carried out by Yale University lasted for 12 years, and focussed on three subject groups; those who did not read at all, those who read for around three and a half hours per week, and those who read for more. Even in the second group of subjects, there was still a 17% chance of an increased lifespan, showing the incredible benefits that reading can bring.
How Does Reading Books Extend Lifespan?
Unlike magazines or newspapers, reading books encourages two cognitive processes that are extremely beneficial. The first is referred to as “deep reading”, which is an immersive process that enables the reader to form a connection to the world around them. The second cognitive process is the way in which books are able to promote everything from empathy to emotional intelligence, all of which heighten the body’s chance for survival. The way in which books feature complex, interwoven stories cannot compete with the short snippets of information provided by newspapers and magazines, and this recent study has more than proven the varying effects that different types of reading material can have.
How Long Should You Read For Each Day?
Yale University’s study showed that the longer that a participant read for each day, the longer they would live for. While you may not have time to read for hours each day, even 30 minutes a day can still be hugely beneficial in terms of extending lifespan. One of the advantages to reading is that it can be done just about anywhere, so even if you do not have time at the end of your day, try bringing a book along on your commute to work, or setting aside some time on your lunch break.
What Types of Books are Best?
While the study did not look into the exact genres of books that were read by participants, other studies have discovered that around 87% of book readers choose to read fiction, meaning that fiction was most likely to be the primary type of book read during the study. However, this does not instantly mean that other types of books are not beneficial, although more studies will need to be carried out in order to confirm this.
In addition to extending your lifespan, reading also brings about so many other health benefits. From improving memory to expanding knowledge to boosting analytical thinking skills, making the effort to squeeze in at least 30 minutes of book reading a day will have some hugely positive effects on your life.