The Benefits Of Reading
By Steve Fillmore
Picking up a good book can help protect your brain from alzheimer’s disease, relieve stress and encourage a positive mindset. Plus, with so much to learn in the world, it’s a great way to expand your immense knowledge base and have ammo for some interesting conversations!
Here’s a few tips on how to help improve your mental health – brainpower! – by simply picking up a good book and diving in!
1. Mental Workout
Reading a good book gives you a different kind of workout than watching TV or listening to music does. Reading is more neurobiologically demanding than processing images or speech, which means it’s going to be better for your brain.
When you are reading this article, “parts of the brain that have evolved for other functions – vision, language and associative learning – connect in a specific neural circuit for reading, which is very challenging,“ says Ken Pugh, PhD, President and director of research Haskins Laboratories, which is devoted to the science of language and affiliated with Yale, told Oprah magazine.
Just like a muscle, the more you use it, the stronger it becomes. Just think of all the memory contests you could win! Or how about trivia night!
2. Keeps You Young
Reading takes years off your mind, according to a study from Rush University Medical Center in Prevention magazine. Adults who spent their off time doing creative and intellectual activities such as reading and puzzles, had a 32% slower rate of cognitive decline.
Robert S. Wilson, PhD, professor of neuropsychology at Rush University Medical Center says, “Brainy pursuits make the brain more efficient by changing its structure to continue functioning properly in spite of age related neuropathologies.”
So, what does that mean exactly? Start using your brain by reading and incorporating challenging games like Sudoku to keep the mind flexible and functioning at an optimal level.
3. Improves Empathy
Burying your head in a fictional novel isn’t just a way to escape reality. It’s been shown that it may provide life changing perspectives that we would otherwise not get from other sources.
According to researchers at University of Buffalo, participants in the study self-identified with the characters in the fictional novels and felt a “belonging” to the fictional communities in the novels, which provided the same moods as like in real life communities. This taught the participants of the study how to feel connected and empathetic.
So, pick up a good book – fiction, non-fiction, or a biography – and work that brain muscle of yours.
Here are a few good reads to get you started:
Feel free to suggest more awesome reads for your fellow Fitlifers in the comments below!
Steve Fillmore is a 2-time cancer THRIVER! His motto in life is: Love, Laugh, Live - Love yourself first; Laugh through all the crazy times; Live for life right now! Through proper diet, exercise and mindfulness, Steve has been able to recreate his body to work with and for him.
For fun, you can find Steve either teaching a Zumba class, or creating websites for clients.
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