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Reading Books can Add Two Years to your Life

Fri, Jul 21, 2017 at 3:55PM

Reading Books can Add Two Years to your Life


Researchers report “These findings suggest that the benefits of reading books include a longer life in which to read them.”


A study, led by Yale Professor Becca R. Levy and published in the journal Social Science & Medicine, found that reading is not just a popular beach chair pastime. It is actually good for your health. Levy and her colleagues studied the reading habits of 3,635 American adults over age 50 who are participating in the Health and Retirement Study sponsored by National Institute on Aging and the Social Security Administration.  Researchers analyzed data collected over a 12 year period. They found that adults who read up to 210 minutes a week (3 and a half hours) were 17% less likely to die during the 12 years of the study, and those who read more than 210 minutes weekly were 23% less likely to die than non-readers.

Overall, researchers concluded that readers live two years on average longer than non-readers, and the more time spent reading the better.

Researchers found that most book readers were college educated, female, or had higher income, therefore they controlled for those factors, as well as for age, race, marital status, employment, and health, during the study.

While reading magazines and newspapers also increase your odds for survival, book reading brought the biggest benefit. Researchers suggest this could be because readers engage in deeper reading and think more critically when following a book, as opposed to shorter periodicals. Most readers reported choosing fiction books, however reading any genre of literature for even as little as 30 minutes a day brought a survival advantage over non-readers.

Although researchers did not find out why reading increases your life span, they speculate it could be from the cognitive benefit. Reading exercises the brain, in that it stimulates connections and causes the reader to think critically and problem solve. Readers engage their vocabulary and language-processing regions in the brain, as well as increase their emotional intelligence through empathizing with characters in their novels.  

So Volusia County, grab your beach chair, sunhat, and a good book and we will see you at the beach this weekend!

Stayed tuned to the County Health Care Guide Blog to learn more about assisted-living, senior care, senior placement, and important senior news in Volusia County. From Daytona to Port Orange to New Smyrna Beach, the County Health Care Guide is the only resource you need.

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