Don’t Put the Book Down for a Life of Longevity

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Great news, bookworms! New research suggests reading a good book every day could be associated with living a longer, happier life!

Experts from Yale University School of Public Health found a corresponding link between reading more and an increase in longevity.

About the study

In the nationally representative Health and Retirement Study, a cohort consisting of 3,635 participants provided information about their reading habits over a 12-year period. The National Institution of Health analyzed everyone’s daily reading time against their health records for the duration of the study. To make things easier, participants were classified based on the total time spent reading. Individuals could fit into one of the three categories:

  1. No regular reading
  2. Reading up to 3.5 hours per week
  3. Reading more than 3.5 hours per week

After comparing the statistics, the final conclusion was that reading books contributed to a survival advantage over reading magazines and the newspaper. Influential factors were taken into consideration, but findings remained the same. These factors were such economic status, cognitive ability, and educational levels.

It’s interesting to note a 23% drop in mortality risk presented in the group of participants who read more than 3.5 hours a week. To put in perspective, that is, on average, a bit over 30 minutes per day. These super-readers lived an average of two years longer than those in the non-reading group.

Choose hardcover copies over newspapers and magazines

Oh, don’t put the book down yet! It’s fascinating to know that newspaper and/or magazine reading doesn’t calculate quite the same as books. Participants who only read through magazines and newspapers did show signs of longevity, but not as those who read books.

Cause and effect were not the intentions of this study. However, good evidence did shine through linking longevity in life by those who read.

Importance of Reading

Several studies suggest reading can affect many aspects of one’s life: mental health, economic well-being, and family circumstance, to name a few.

The University of People: The Education Revolution suggests stepping out of your comfort zone will surprise you with these reading benefits:

  • Creative thinking
  • Improve concentration
  • Better perspective
  • Can help you destress
  • Provide a sense of belonging
  • Create a great conversation starter
  • Improve vocabulary

As a bonus, the Expert Editor suggests reading strengthens the brain by bringing existing neural pathways in the brain to life. Complex poetry may help the brain remain elastic and active while keeping the brain sharp.

Conclusion

Nothing creates more inspiration than being transported to a whole new reality via a good book. It’s an escape, creating readers to be more empathetic, creative, and life of longevity. Whether you pour your free time into a new book each week or spend months casually reading a best seller your friend recommended, psychologists say your time is being spent well.

If books aren’t your jam, then perhaps you have not found a good genre for your liking. Keep trying! Search for books that work for you. You may even consider sitting in a bookshop grazing over several different selections.

Start your book hunt by searching this list of 100 Best Novels or visiting a local library. A book can be the gateway to new opportunities, especially for those wanting to learn and grow!

Bonus tip #1: Don’t forget to give books; they make great gifts! Stick a card inside with a special message for your friend to have a memorable bookmark.

Bonus tip #2: Whether you’re a young reader or you’ve been reading for decades, the book club is a great way to get social, meet new friends, and learn different perspectives. There are many virtual opportunities to discuss the latest book you’ve read. Check out, meet up! Or at Williamson County Public Libraries for opportunities to sink into a good book.