Health | Is reading good for your health?

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We associate reading as a leisurely exercise, or something to pass the time on our commute. But there are more benefits to reading than just being a passive hobby.

Reading something you love, whether it’s a magazine or book, is one of life’s few pleasures. Our fast paced life means we often have to snatch moments to read anything other than our social media feeds, but there are many reasons why the world’s most successful and rounded people read so much.

So how is reading good for your health?

Neurological researchers have spent years studying the impact of books on the brain and identified a link between the act of reading a novel and enhanced cognitive ability. Reading, as such, has a profound effect on mental agility, the memory and our aptitude for imagination and compassion.

Reading for just six months a day can be enough to reduce stress levels by up to 68%, according to a study from the University of Sussex. They found that reading silently to oneself helps to slow down the heart rate and eases tension in the muscles.

Reading is also known to help your memory. It helps your brain retain information over time, which in turn means you read better. This, has the positive impact of making your shaper and smarter.

This is increasingly important as you age. Keeping mentally active by reading books and writing letters helps protect the brain in old age.

Reading fiction can also enhance your emotional intelligence and ability to be compassionate. Reading novels, according to scientists, causes changes in the left side of the brain which are associated with language comprehension. As such, reading fiction puts the reader in the body of the protagonist and making us more compassionate.

Who knew reading was so beneficial?