Does reading keep the mind young?

Reading is a fundamental and important part of everyday life. Though many of us struggle to find the time, the science suggests that reading is a sure-fire way to maintain healthy brain function and increase general wellbeing. Whether it's literary fiction or popular entertainment, reading of any kind is always beneficial!

Studies suggest that there are many positive side effects and outcomes associated with regularly making time to indulge in a great book. 

Reading is amazing for young minds
Several studies indicate that reading as a youth can lead to significant differences in intelligence levels and brain development. A recent study by researchers at the King's College London found that earlier differences in reading patterns between twins played out as the siblings grew older. Not surprisingly, students who get into the habit of reading young are more likely to continue the habit. Those who read a lot will enhance their verbal intelligence. Essentially reading will make them ‘smarter’.

Did you know? 44% of surveyed Australians did not possess the literacy skills to manage their everyday lives (ABS). 

Reading makes us more empathetic
Want to restore or enhance your understanding of others and the world at large? Read a great book! 

A study from the University of Buffalo discovered that undergraduate students' personalities were affected by their exposure to certain fictional texts. After careful consideration, the researchers found that 'being part of something larger than oneself' increases our ability to understand life from other perspectives. 

The 'theory of mind tasks' (mental processes) associated with reading literary fiction has been found to result in an increased ability to comprehend that other people hold beliefs and desires and that these may differ from one's own beliefs and desires. The upshot? It allows us to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes and thoughtfully consider how we approach life differently.

Did you know? Reading helps the brain by increasing information retention, mental acuity and the ability to learn and comprehend new information. 

Reading has been linked to Alzheimer's prevention
Research in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that reading was one of the most important ways of maintaining brain function. By exercising the brain with regular reading (and game or puzzle playing), researchers found that subjects were two and a half times less likely to develop the life-changing disease. There is still more research needed however the data shows a clear link between mental exercise and general wellbeing. 

Did you know? Reading is considered one of the best and most effective ways to relax!

It's one of the ultimate forms of relaxation
According to researchers from the University of Sussex  reading for a mere six minutes could reduce one's stress by more than two thirds. Compared with other forms of relaxation, reading was seen as the best way to wind down, accounting for a whopping 68% reduction in stress levels. Interested to learn what else you can do to chill in a healthy way? Listening to music took the second spot (61%) followed by having a tea or coffee (54%). Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? 

Did you know? Reading a great book + listening to a fantastic music cd + having a tea or coffee = the perfect afternoon 

Interestingly, lead author and neuropsychologist Dr David Lewis also found that reading a physical book or newspaper led to a reduced heart rate and more relaxed muscular disposition. He believes it is an active engaging of the imagination as the words on the printed page stimulate your creativity and cause you to enter what is essentially an altered state of consciousness.

Sounds good to us!

Do you love to read? What do you enjoy most about it? Join our conversation below…