When it comes to reading, most of us think it has a significant benefit for increasing brain power. Why not? Reading is one of the known ways to boost a person’s intelligence. However, did it come to your mind that daily reading can increase a person’s lifespan?
Well, Yale University researchers have the answer, and it is a “YES.” The study is not very recent, but it is worth knowing that something we thought unusual when it comes to boosting longevity.
In the study, the researchers surveyed 3,635 participants in their 50s about their reading habits. Then, based on the data the researchers obtained, they split the participants into three categories; non-readers, less than 3.5 hours per week readers, and over 3.5 hours per week readers.
For 12 years, the researchers did a regular follow up. The researchers found that those who read the most were women with a college education and belong to a higher income category.
The other thing they found is that readers live longer than those non-readers.
People Who Read Most Lived Longer
Upon analyzing the data, the researchers found that readers who read over 3.5 hours a week lived longer than those who don’t.
Furthermore, those who read most were able to outlive non-readers by 23 full months regardless of wealth, education, gender, and even some health factors.
It shows that reading as a hobby as the potential to reduce the mortality rate by up to 20%. It is hugely significant. Imagine if those readers are also physically active who exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet.
One thing is clear; the more you get into the habit of reading, the better you improve your quality of life. Reading is one of the natural ways for improving the quality of life especially those above 50 years of age.
Are Books Better Than Periodicals?
When the researchers further analyzed their findings, they found that reading books are better than merely reading periodicals. But why?
The researchers suggest books are better than periodicals as reading books involves more cognitive faculties.
The readers didn’t begin with higher cognitive faculties than the non-readers. The engaged merely in a reading activity, which heightened those faculties. This finding suggests that reading books provide a survival advantage due to the immersive nature that helps maintain cognitive status.
Furthermore, book lovers know that reading engages two cognitive processes such as deep reading and emotional connection. Deep reading is a way of reading slowly, which is engaging or immersing fully with the book. It is an excellent way to understand the message of the book to understand its context as well as the outside context.
Moreover, the emotional connection is when reading with empathy. Empathizing with the characters in the book promotes both emotional intelligence and social perception.
What About Reading eBooks?
Besides books and periodicals, eBooks are also growing in popularity. It is due to the popularity of digital formats.
Today, many books have been digitized that are now available in Amazon Kindle and formats like epub, pdf, mobi and among many others.
Perhaps, the most popular eBook reading platform is Amazon Kindle. However, with the advancement of smartphone technologies, a lot more people are now reading digitized books.
There is no exact numbers of people preferring to read eBooks. However, with the development of digital platform, we can safely assume a lot are already on it.
Unfortunately, in the study, reading eBooks or digital form of books was not included.
It may be as effective as reading an actual book. However, there is a downside as eBook reader like Kindle and smartphones used digital screens.
And, spending long hours in front of a digital screen is bad. Particularly, digital screens including smartphones have triggered an increased in blindness globally.
Additionally, when using smartphones as an eBook reader, the RF radiation it emits can be harmful to health.
Even though we’re talking here about seniors, it also important to note that overexposing children to digital screen is a bad idea. Among the bad consequences include;
- Delayed developmental skills
- Bad for children’s learning development
- Negative impact on children’s heart health
- Can affect children’s behaviors
If you should be using your smartphone as an eBook reader, put it in Airplane Mode while reading. It puts all the wireless communication to a halt making it safer against RF radiation.