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Can Reading Benefit My Health?

ashley-thumbBy: Ashley Meyer, Marketing Coordinator at Southwest Health

While up until recently it had been awhile since I had enjoyed a good book, reading is one of my favorite past-times. Not only do you get to relax and unwind in a world that is completely separate from your own, ultimately disconnecting from the stressors of your own life, you also get to sharpen your mind and social skills.

Reading for pleasure has many health benefits, but let’s explore a few of the most interesting ones:

  • Reading helps reduce stress. Studies have shown that reading is 300% more effective at reducing stress than going for a walk, and 700% more effective than playing video games. That’s not to say that going for a walk isn’t a fantastic way to reduce stress and up your activity level, but it does go to show how powerful it can be to plug your mind into a different world and disconnect from your own stressors.
  • A study at Carnegie Mellon University discovered that when study participants were reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, they used the same brain regions you would use in a real-life experience. By utilizing the same aspects of your brain that you’d use in real-life experiences, you can develop both social and oral skills. Reading alone will not hone these skills, but studies show that it can certainly help develop them!
  • Reading is also shown to have a positive impact on writing ability, spelling, vocabulary, grammar, and comprehension. Not only are these skills important in employment, but they can also help you navigate through the masses of information that we receive on a daily basis through social media, newspapers, television, internet sources, advertisements, and conversations.
  • If you have children at home, reading in front of them and with them can help create positive attitudes towards reading.
  • Studies show that reading helps improve engagement and communication with others, leading to healthier relationships.

reading - circleYou may not traditionally think of reading as being impactful to your health, because it is not considered a physical activity. However, reading can have largely positive impacts on your social, mental, and emotional health, and since we know that the link between mental and physical health is strong, reading will also likely have a positive impact on your physical health.

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