Ways Reading Can Improve Your Health
Want a simple, inexpensive way to improve your overall health?
Gustave Flaubert said, “Do not read, as children do, to amuse yourself, or like the ambitious, for the purpose of instruction. No, read in order to live.”
Sure, reading can help you land a better job, improve your vocabulary, encourage an empathetic mindset, enhance your writing skills, and teach you new things. But it also positively impacts your physical health.
Chances are, you’re reading this article because you love to read. You want to nod your head and say, “Amen, sister!”
Then, you will want to share this with someone who hasn’t picked up a book in years and say, “I told you so!”
And if you do share this with a non-reader, there is a chance it is the first thing of substance they’ve read in a long time. A recent poll revealed that nearly 30% of participants hadn’t read a single book in the last year.
You’ll need some pretty compelling evidence to get the ball rolling. So let’s get to it. The top seven ways reading can improve your health.
1. It reduces stress.
There is a wide variety of stress reduction techniques. And the success of each one really depends on the person. However, reading is clearly the best strategy.
The University of Sussex conducted research regarding the most effective forms of stress reduction. Just 10 minutes of reading reduced stress by nearly 70%. It was more relaxing than listening to music, drinking a cup of tea, or going for a walk.
2. Reading helps you sleep.
We should have made this point last—for fear that you’ll turn your computer/tablet/phone off right now!
Our brains weren’t created with computer screens in mind. Those glowing pixels are doing more harm than good.
Like the sun rising each morning, bright lights tell our bodies it is time to wake up, put ourselves in motion. So staring at a brightly lit computer monitor for several hours each day makes it hard to unwind.
Reading transitions our brains into a more mellow state; a book tells our bodies it is time to rest.
3. To your brain, reading is like an intense workout at the gym.
Reading requires several complex cognitive activities. These advanced activities increase the blood flow to your brain, brining an abundance of nutrients and oxygen to various parts of our thinking cap.
4. It boosts your memory.
When you read, you create new memories. And the creation of each new memory requires the birth of new synapses and the enhancement of current ones.
From there, it is a never-ending cycle. Synapses functioning at an optimum level improve memory and an improved memory maintains the health of synapses.
5. Reading is helpful now and later.
Sure, the acquisition of new information makes you smarter. But that is only a short-term benefit. In the long-run, reading is much more helpful.
Acquiring new information via print publications increases the odds of retaining that knowledge later in life. And the more faculties you have later in life, the fewer mental health issues you are susceptible to.
6. A book is more therapeutic than a trip to the psychologist’s office.
Reading often requires you to reflect on past experiences and can usually give new insight.
For example, if you are reading about characters who lost a loved one to cancer, the story might offer insight, healing, and a new perspective to deal with your own current loss.
7. It improves analytical skills.
Wikipedia defines analytical thinking as the ability to visualize, articulate and solve complex problems. It helps you make sensible decisions. It helps you analyze information and formulate a plan.
That all sounds nice, right? Who wouldn’t want to be able to think logically every once in a while?
If that sounds appealing, pick up a book or magazine. Reading enhances your ability to detect patterns and improve your analytical mindset.
There’s Still Time!
Many people believe print publications are a dying art form. Fortunately, that just isn’t true. There are plenty of pixel-free publications out there; they just require a bit more effort than booting up the computer.
According to a communication with experts at Priority One Magazines, magazine subscriptions are thriving—despite rumors that say otherwise. And magazines aren’t the only form of print literature. Books—whether paper or digital—will never die out.
Groucho Marx said, “I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.”
If you were one of the many people who didn’t read a single book last year, it’s not too late. Pick up a book or magazine and start improving your health today.
Related Blog: Workout Your Brain for Better Health
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