A love of reading can protect your brain from Alzheimer’s disease, slash stress levels, encourage positive thinking, and fortify friendships. Here’s how your brain and body benefit when you crack open a book.
Reading gives muscle to your memory.
Reading gives your brain a different kind of workout than watching TV or listening to the radio. Whether you’re absorbed in a page-turner or simply scanning an instruction manual for your coffee maker, “parts of the brain that have evolved for other functions—such as vision, language, and associative learning—connect in a specific neural circuit for reading, which is very challenging,” Ken Pugh, PhD, president and director of research of Haskins Laboratories, told Oprah magazine. The habit spurs your brain to think and concentrate.
Reading keeps your brain young.
Digging into a good book can literally take years off your mind, according to a recent study from Rush University Medical Center as reported by Prevention. Adults who spent their downtime doing creative or intellectual activities (like reading) had a 32 percent slower rate of cognitive decline later in life than those who did not. “Brainy pursuits make the brain more efficient by changing its structure to continue functioning properly in spite of age-related neuropathologies,” Robert S. Wilson, PhD, professor of neuropsychology at Rush University Medical Center, told the magazine. Another recent study found that older adults who regularly read or play mentally challenging games like chess or puzzles are two and a half times less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease, reported ABC News.
Reading can melt away stress.
Snuggling up with a good read tamps down levels of unhealthy stress hormones such as cortisol, Weight Watchers recently reported. In a British study, participants engaged in an anxiety-provoking activity and then either read for a few minutes, listened to music, or played video games. The stress levels of those who read dropped 67 percent, which was a more significant dip than that of the other groups.
Reading can encourage life goals.
Reading about someone who overcame obstacles may motivate you to meet your own goals, Ohio State University researchers found. If you’d like a raise, following a character into the boss’s office may give you the courage to make the same request. The more you identify with a character and experience the events as if they were happening to you, the more likely you’ll be to take action. The best book quotes can even inspire you to change your life for the better.
- How many advantages of reading did the article discuss?
- In what activities was reading compared?
- What medical center conducted a study about reading books?
- What report abut Alzheimer's disease did ABC News talk about?
- In a British study, what was the activity that participants engaged in?