The headline has exercise written all over it. But I’m not here to trick you into exercise. In fact, I’m not even going to give you a list of 30-minute healthy recipes. Nope. This little bit of news is less about getting active and more about sitting down in a comfortable chair. So, it might be time to pick up a good book.
In what might be the most surprising bit of news I’ve read in a while, I learned that sitting with a book for at least 30-minutes per day has the potential to lead to a longer life. It may also have the potential to maintain cognition and stave off dementia.
Researchers from Yale University concluded reading books was associated with longer, healthier lives. Looking at data collected from the University of Michigan’s Health and Retirement Study (HRS), they found that reading books for at least 30-minutes per day was associated with living two years longer when compared to non-readers. They also found that book readers were 23-percent less likely to die than those that only read newspapers and magazines.
What gives books the benefit over newspapers, magazines, Facebook, and Instagram? It could be that books encourage a deeper form of engagement. As opposed to skimming news of rifling through headlines, reading books forces people to pay more attention and use more of their brains.
Research has indicated that reading books may cause people to form greater connections, or expand their perception, of the outside world. These connections may activate the brain to forge pathways between hemispheres and lobes at a higher rate. Creating and activating neural networks can promote brain health and are closely associated with preventing dementia and cognitive decline. Close, engaged reading may also stimulate greater blood flow in the region.
Sitting quietly and reading a book, not social media, newspaper, or magazines may help boost the length and quality of your life. Reading just be the most accessible anti-aging tool yet!