Are you a bookworm? Or would you rather prefer reading tweets and social media updates? Reading good old printed books can have some great perks. Let’s take a look at some of the scientific benefits of reading.
A love for reading
The smell of old books can make a book lover dive deep into the pages and stay hooked and entertained for a long period of time. Reading can fill your mind with imagination and take you to worlds that you would never see or experience otherwise. It can make you think hard and feel emotions that you’ve never felt before. Such is the allure of reading. But science has now discovered that there are several physical and mental health benefits of reading. Although you may prefer reading e-books or online, reading printed books can make you a lot happier and healthier.
Did you know that 83% of US adults read printed books along with e-books? Well, whether you love reading classic printed books or their digital versions, there is no denying the fact that reading is the key to self development – mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. In fact, leisure reading can even be beneficial on a personal and professional level, according to a study.
Scientific benefits of reading
If you are still wondering about making reading your hobby, then here are 8 science backed reasons for reading more that will make you pick up a book right away:
1. Reading improves your brain connectivity
Recent research has confirmed that reading on a regular basis can actually help to strengthen your mind. A 2014 study has found that reading activates a network of circuits and sends signals to the brain. This complex network becomes better and stronger as our reading skills improve.
Another 2013 study which analyzed the influence of reading a thrilling novel on our brain, found that increasing areas in our brain become more active as tension increases in the story, explains writer Rebecca Joy Stanborough, MFA. She adds “Brain scans showed that throughout the reading period and for days afterward, brain connectivity increased, especially in the somatosensory cortex, the part of the brain that responds to physical sensations like movement and pain.”
2. Reading improves your mental health
According to a new research by Dr. Robert Freidland, people who read and engage in other mentally stimulating activities like chess are 2.5 times less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that reading can help elderly people prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Justin Brown, author and founder of Ideapod, explains “Studies have shown that staying mentally alert can slow the progress of (or possibly even prevent) Alzheimer’s and dementia.”
Read also: How to Improve Mental Health?
In fact, the National Institute on Aging believes that reading can help the elderly to keep their minds active and engaged even in old age. According to a 2013 study by Rush University Medical Center, individuals who regularly engage in mentally challenging activities like reading are “less likely to develop the plaques, lesions, and tau-protein tangles found in the brains of people with dementia,” says Rebecca.
3. Reading reduces stress
One of the most fascinating benefits of reading is that it helps to reduce stress significantly. According to a 2009 study conducted by Mindlab International at the University of Sussex, reading for as little as 6 minutes can reduce your stress levels up to 68%. Research showed that silently reading for just six minutes can alleviate muscle tension and lower heart rate.
Lead researcher and cognitive neuropsychologist Dr, David Lewis explained “Losing yourself in a book is the ultimate relaxation. It really doesn’t matter what book you read, by losing yourself in a thoroughly engrossing book you can escape from the worries and stresses of the everyday world and spend a while exploring the domain of the author’s imagination.”