Reading books could increase your lifespan

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Books do not only provide an escape from ordinary life nor are they just sources of information. They provide a host of benefits to the readers and unfortunately many of South Africa’s youth are unable to read while the other half simply sees it as boring and prefers their televisions above books.

Now it appears, research have shown that reading books could increase your lifespan. This new study was published in the journal, Social Science & Medicine, by co-author Becca R. Levy, a professor of epidemiology at Yale University School of public Health and colleagues. This study explores the fact that adults who read books for as little as 30 minutes daily may live up to 2 years longer.

The team analysed the date of 3 635 men and women who formed part of the Health and Retirement study – typically American adults aged 50 and older.

All participants reported on their reading habits over an average period of 12 years during which their survival was monitored during this time.

Adults who did read books for up to 3 and a half hours each week were 17 percent less likely to die over the 12 year follow up compared to adults who didn’t read. Those who read more than 3 and a half hours weekly were 23 percent less likely to die.

It was discovered that adults who read books survived almost 2 years longer over the 12 year follow up than those who didn’t read. The trend suggests that reading is most common amongst females, individuals who with tertiary education and those with a higher income.

While some of the adults reported reading magazines and newspapers, the benefits, albeit there, were still less than that of reading books.

Although Levy and colleagues did not pinpoint the exact reasons why book reading may increase survival, they speculate that is may come down to the cognitive benefits. This is proven in one study published in 2013 which found that reading boosts brain cell connectivity.

While we might think Kindle and other e-reading platforms are dominating and killing the sales of printed books, we couldn’t be farther from the truth. Those who love reading still prefer hard copy books over kindles and sales in America alone (571 million) have proven this fact.

Benefits of reading to your health:

Reading increases your overall intelligence and boosts your brain power

It may also help fight Alzheimer’s disease

It helps you relax when you feel tense or overwhelmed

If you can’t fall asleep, reading a page or two before bed can help

Reading expands your vocabulary

It improves your concentration and analytical skills

Reading also improves your writing and understanding of the language in which you read books

It’s free entertainment


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