Researchers at Yale conducted study which shows that reading books is not only good for the brain, but it also promotes overall health. More exactly, reading 30 minutes per day can decrease the risk of death by 20%.
Other studies already proved that reading is good for regulating the mood; it helps people to sleep and may delay Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decay. This particular study focused on the benefits of reading for the entire body.
Moreover, the results do not depend on education, wealth, or cognitive ability, showing that anyone can do it and have benefits out of the activity.
The Reading Study
The study involved data from the Health and Retirement Study, from which the researchers selected 3,635 participants. The group was tracked for a period of 12 years, and the researchers aimed at finding information on mortality and death risk.
Book readers are especially women with college education and high income. Thus, the researchers controlled these variables and selected a balanced group of people in terms of age, health, employment, race, depression, or marital status, so that the results of the study would be unbiased.
The results showed that people who read books for at least 30 minutes daily had a 20% lower risk of death. The percentage rose to individuals who read the book for longer periods of time.
When compared to people who did not read at all, the book readers had a survival advantage of 23 months, which means that they won almost two years of life through reading books.
Books vs. Tweets
However, even if people who read magazines and newspapers had an advantage when compared with non-readers, the percentage was much lower.
The scientists discovered that the factor that influenced the variation was cognition, which brings a survival advantage for people who read books and not just short articles, entertainment magazines, or tweets.
The explanation is that books involve much more from the cognition point of view as they engage the mind. The reader draws connections, finds practical applications for what it reads, and also starts to ask questions based on the information from a book.
Being more cognitive involved brings out other benefits such as enhancements in vocabulary, concentration, critical thinking, and reasons.
The second type of advantages is the one related to social perception, empathy, and emotional intelligence.
The two kinds of positive effects can lead to a greater survival rate, which was significantly increased for people who read books than for the individuals who read newspapers and periodicals.
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