“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies … the man, who never reads, lives only one.” – George R.R. Martin. Reading is an engaging, life-changing activity that transports us to worlds we’d never see, that enlightens us about people we’d never meet, and that evokes emotions in us we could never otherwise feel.
Scientists also say reading offers us an array of health benefits. Let’s expound the top reasons, according to science, you need to read more.
It Serves as a Workout for Your Brain
That notion is touted by Ken Pugh, director of research at the Yale-affiliated Haskins Laboratories, who conducts studies on the impact of spoken and written language. The researcher avers reading books activates every one of the major parts of your brain, strengthening your language skills, sustained attention, selective attention, cognition as well as imagination.
He also maintains that books that tell a story through fiction or narrative non-fiction are beneficial, particularly, for developing imagination and thinking ability — what other forms of reading cannot achieve.
Reading (Books Especially) Could Increase Your Lifespan
A daily dose of reading books has the potential to make you live longer. This was one of the conclusions reached by a team of scientists at Yale University, who followed over 3600 adults, aged more than 50 over a period of 12 years.
These experts discovered individuals that reported reading books for half an hour a day recorded an increase in lifespan of about two more years in comparison with their counterparts that read newspapers or magazines. Participants that engage in reading for over 3.5 hours every week had 23% less probability of dying, while those that read less than 3.5 hours every week had 17% less chance of dying.
The benefits of reading books, the researchers say, include leading a longer life, among other health advantages.
Reading Helps You Get a Better Job
A research scientist at the University of Oxford did an analysis of the survey responses of 17,200 individuals that were born in 1970 and discovered respondents that read books when they clocked 16 had a greater likelihood of having a professional or managerial career when they became 33.
The questionnaire asked respondents to state if they engaged in other extra-curricular activities, like cultural outings, sports, computer gaming, sewing, and cooking, all of which were discovered to have no relationship with future career success.
It Helps Develop Your Communication Skills
Reading just a single picture book to a kid daily exposes them to nearly 78,000 words a year, researchers wrote in a study published in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. The experts have estimated that in those 5 years before kindergarten, children that are resident in literacy-rich homes are familiar with nearly 1.4 million more words in comparison to kids, raised by caregivers who don’t read to them.
This is crucial for their future selves as being able to communicate clearly and intelligently is a skill that employers state quite often as one of the most important qualities they look for in potential employees.
In a Nutshell
Apart from the benefits highlighted above, reading also helps you be a better leader, reduces stress, and develops your language skills and knowledge of the world. The activity, which we often take for granted, also enhances empathy. Indeed, reading books daily can be life-changing. Even science agrees.