A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies.
The man who never reads lives only one.
Quote by George RR Martin, Author
Most people wish to live a long and healthy life. There are many measures we can take to achieve that goal, to eat healthily, to exercise regularly and to sleep enough. But did you know that you can extend your lifespan by reading books regularly and learning new skills?
Challenging your brain by learning new things increases the flexibility of your mind. Curiosity and thirst for knowledge are one of the most important rejuvenating factors.
Study Shows Reading Books Extend Your Life
A study made by the Yale University, USA, shows that people who read books at least 30 minutes per day live in average two years longer than people who read less or no books at all.
The research led by Avni Bavishi from the Yale University School of Public Health and the was published in the Social Science & Medicine in September 2016. It was a long-term study of 3’635 people, age over 50. The research team divided these people into three groups
- Those who read books more than 3.5 hours a week.
- Those who read books up to 3.5 hours a week.
- Those who didn’t read any books at all.
After the 12 years of study, the result showed that those who,
- read for more than 3.5 hours a week were 23% less likely to die than people who do not read at all.
- read for up to 3.5 hours a week were 17% less likely to die compared to those not reading at all.
- read newspapers and magazines do not benefit as much as a book reader
Avni Bavishi furthermore says that the study shows the more time people spend on reading books, the longer they live. The beneficial effects of reading books are not conditional on gender, wealth, education, health or intelligence quotient.
How Can Reading Books Be Life Extending?
It may seem contradictory that general reading should not be a survival advantage and it was kind of a surprise to the research team:
“We had seen some mixed effects in previous literature that seemed to indicate that there may be a survival advantage to general reading; however, we were impressed with the magnitude of the difference of effect between reading books and reading newspapers/magazines,” Avni Bavishi told A. Flood, The Guardian, August 2016.
So why is it that people who read at least 30 minutes per day in average extend their lives up to almost 2 years? The research team has come to the conclusion that cognitive processes create the survival advantage. Reading a book stimulates the brain to interlaced thinking. We get deeply immersed in the plot of the book and, by reading we improve our vocabulary, concentration and thinking skills. Another reason is that book stories and novels can help to increase empathy and the emotional intelligence, which are important factors leading to greater survival. A better understanding of people, nature, and environment make us more committed, compassionated, happier and healthier.
You may perhaps think, the people in the study read highly intellectual literature and specialized literature. Yes, surely some of them did, but it wasn’t actually specified in the study. Certainly, most of the readers in the study also read fictional books during this 12-year period.
Isn’t that good news, you can choose to read a book for your amusement and so increase your well-being and health?
The book to read is not the one that thinks for you,
but the one that makes you think.
Quote by Harper Lee, Author
7 Tips on How to Become A Regular Reader
- If you are not used to reading books at all, I would suggest you choose a very short novel with a topic which appeals to you. Search for book reviews within the genre you prefer or ask for advice in a bookstore. That’ll help you to know what book to choose.
- Check that the letters in the book have got a convenient size for you to read.
- Choose to read at a time of the day that suits you the most. For example after dinner or in the evening before you go to bed.
- Sit or lie down comfortably.
- Make sure you have a good light, so your eyes do not get strained.
- Start reading for 5-10 minutes and for each day increase the time you read until you can concentrate on reading for whole 30 minutes. Reading is like doing exercises with the brain. We have to train our brain like we have to train our muscles.
- Make a habit out of reading. Choose the same time to read every day and place your book where you always get reminded of reading – for example on your bedside table if you like to read before you fall asleep. Within three weeks it will have become part of your life, that you don’t want to miss.
If you want to learn something new, do it just before bedtime.
The brain is especially receptive near the beginning of the sleep period.
One of the best things with reading books is that it is stress reducing, according to the University of Sussex research in 2009, and referred to in an article in The Telegraph. Researchers believe that besides the improvement of cognitive processes in the brain, the stress reduction is the main factor for the life-extending effects for people who are regularly reading books.
If you want to extend your lifespan in a comfortable kind of way,
start reading a book chapter each day.
If you are looking for captivating and life-changing books I can highly recommend books written by John Strelecky.
These are MUST-READ-BOOKS for you who seek the meaning in your life, and for you who want to find fulfillment in what you do.
I love these books and I can especially recommend The Why Café. It is easily readable also for people who do not often read. This book will make you want to read more!
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Do you want to know more about how to live a longer and healthier life?
Read my article about Longevity.
Take A Break - Read A Book
Please, tell me about your favourite book.
I'd' love to hear what you think about reading,
so please, leave a comment below.