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Three reasons why reading is great for your health

by John Burns (follow)
General Wellness (155)      Stress Management (61)      Relaxation (25)     
Enjoying a good book is not usually considered a good form of exercise, but reading is in fact greatly beneficial to our health, not just mentally but also physically.

reading, books, health tips
Image courtesy of Swong95765, via Flickr

As well as helping us to become more well-rounded and knowledgeable individuals, reading can also help to whip us into shape in some ways that you may find surprising. Read on for three reasons why reading can be great for your health.

Improved Mental Agility

Regularly reading books, as opposed to watching television, has been shown to increase mental agility and improve the general health of our brains. The level of mental engagement that reading requires stimulates the brain in the same way that regular exercise stimulates the body, allowing it to work more effectively for longer.

reading, books, health tips
Image courtesy of Dick Verton, via Flickr

Research by Dr Robert Freidland and his team has found that activities like reading can also decrease the likelihood of brain diseases like Alzheimer’s later in life. The study showed that regular reading could make the individual two and half times less likely to experience symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer’s, while watching too much TV could even contribute to the onset of such diseases.

Reduced Stress Levels

Stress is a major problem globally. As our lives become more connected and frenetic, stress levels in the collective global population are on the increase, and so high stress levels have become the norm – part and parcel of a busy life.

reading, books, health tips
Image courtesy of Dick Verton, via Flickr

But stress is incredibly harmful to our bodies. Setting aside some down time to read a book each day removes you from the causes of stress and can be a great boost to your health. This kind of escapism cannot be provided by television because – on the whole – the level of user engagement is too low. When watching television our minds can wander back to the stresses and strains of our daily life; with reading this is less likely.

Reduced Blood Pressure

The escapism of reading, and the fact that the activity can be easily incorporated into cycles of yoga and meditation, make it great for reducing the physical affects associated with high blood pressure. Making time for a daily reading session can reduce stress (as mentioned above) and also ease high blood pressure.

reading, books, health tips
Image courtesy of Cadman Illameer, via Flickr

Try ten minutes of peaceful mediation or reflection before reading. This will get you into a mentally-pliable mindset which is the perfect state for indulging yourself with your favourite book. If you have the time, try to do some yoga before or after reading to maximise the benefit to your blood pressure levels.

reading, books, health tips
Image from Wikipedia

If these reasons are not enough for you, think about all the extra knowledge you will learn; think about the cool new words you will be able to drop into conversations; think about how culturally enriched your life will become. Then you will see how handy those bits of paper bound in cardboard (or those digital marks on the screen, if an e-reader is more your cup of tea) can really be!

#General Wellness
#Stress Management
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