How exactly do we benefit from reading? Is it just for pleasure, or are there benefits beyond entertainment? The scientific answer is an unquestionable “yes.”
Reading is beneficial for both your physical and mental health, and the benefits can last you a lifetime. Here’s how reading can help your mind and your body, evolve for the better.
Strengthens Your Brain
There have been many research studies conducted to figure out the impacts of reading on the brain, and it was determined that there are many benefits linked to it.
Using MRI scans, it was found that reading involves an intricate web of circuits and signals in the brain. As your reading capability develops, those networks tend to grow into becoming stronger and more sophisticated.
Why children and parents should read together
Reading with your kids shapes warm and happy associations with books, resulting in the likelihood that your children will find reading pleasurable in the future.
Reading at home enhances a child’s school performance, improves their vocabulary, increases their self-esteem, helps them develop good communication skills, and fortifies the prediction engine that is the brain.
Increases your ability to empathize
And speaking of detecting pain, research has shown that people who read fictional literature — stories that explore the innermost lives of characters — show a keen ability to recognize the feelings and beliefs of others.
This ability has been deemed the “theory of mind,” recognized as a set of skills essential for creating, navigating, and preserving social relationships.
Builds your vocabulary
Researchers have found that students who read regularly, starting at an early age, progressively develop great vocabularies. Their vocabulary can affect many areas of their life, from standardized test scores to college admissions and professional opportunities.
Helps prevent age-related cognitive decline
The National Institute on Aging endorses reading books and magazines as a method of keeping your mind active as you grow older. Although research has failed to prove, conclusively that reading prevents ailments like Alzheimer’s, studies show that seniors who read and/or solve math problems on a daily basis maintain and improve their cognitive functioning.
A study found that just a half hour of reading decreased blood pressure, heart rate, and psychological distress as effectively as yoga and humor.
Helps alleviate depression symptoms
People suffering from depression often feel isolated and alienated and that’s a feeling books can sometimes diminish.
Reading fiction stories allows them to momentarily escape their world and immerse themselves in the abstract experiences of the characters. Non-fiction & self-help books on the other hand, can teach them tactics that may help manage symptoms.
It’s particularly important for kids to read as much as they possibly can because the effects are cumulative. Having said that, it’s never too late to start taking advantage of the countless physical and psychological benefits concealed in the pages of a good book.