They say reading makes you smarter, more worldly. And now science says reading for just 3.5 hours a week could extend your life!
What did the study involve?
More than 3500 people took part in the Yale University School of Public Health study, published in ‘Social Science & Medicine’ journal.
Twelve years after first being divided into groups of readers and non-readers, the participants were assessed again.
The researchers found that people who read for more than 30 minutes a day were 23 percent less likely to die. And those who read for up to 30 minutes a day were 17 percent less likely to die.
“When readers were compared to non-readers at 80% mortality (the time it takes 20% of a group to die), non-book readers lived 85 months (7.08 years), whereas book readers lived 108 months (9.00 years) after baseline. Thus, reading books provided a 23-month survival advantage,” the researchers explained.
Does it matter what you read?
What’s important to note is that the results were most profound for book-readers. So if you only read newspapers or magazines, you may want to add books to the mix.
“We found that reading books provided a greater benefit than reading 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,” the researchers said.
“Cognitive engagement may explain why vocabulary, reasoning, concentration, and critical thinking skills are improved by exposure to books. [Books] can promote empathy, social perception, and emotional intelligence, which are cognitive processes that can lead to greater survival.”