Reading helps you live longer, study finds

Set aside half an hour for daily reading. It adds years to your lifespan by giving you a “survival advantage,” according to a recent study.

 Reading helps you live longer, study finds

Regular reading is a good habit to cultivate, but this benefit may surprise. Cozying up with a book can help you live longer, a new study found.

Academics from the Yale University School of Public Health studied the reading patterns of 3,635 participants, all who were at least 50 years of age.

Participants were separated into three groups, depending on whether they spent at least 3.5 hours a week reading, less than that, or no time at all.

The first group, who spent at least 3.5 hours a week reading, had their risk of death lowered by 23 per cent. Those in the second group were 17 per cent less likely to die.

When academics followed up, 33 per cent of those who did not read had died, as compared to 27 per cent of book readers. Their findings were published in the Social Science & Medicine journal.

“Cognitive engagement may explain why vocabulary, reasoning, concentration, and critical thinking skills are improved by exposure to books,” authors wrote.

They added that books “can promote empathy, social perception, and emotional intelligence, which are cognitive processes that can lead to greater survival.”

One of the authors, Ms Avni Bavishi, told The Guardian that book readers lived for almost two years longer than non-book readers.

Reading gives one a “survival advantage” and “as little as 30 minutes a day was still beneficial in terms of survival,” she explained.

Benefits were greater in book readers, over those that regularly dived into newspapers or magazines.

“We uncovered that this effect is likely because books engage the reader’s mind more – providing more cognitive benefit, and therefore increasing the lifespan,” Ms Bavishi added.

Visit The Guardian for the full report.

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