Reading is Fundamental: For Knowledge, Pleasure, and the Brain
Books can transport readers to far off worlds of fantasy, imagination, and delight. Books also may be one the best tools around for exercising one’s brain and promoting mental sharpness, studies have found.
Reading for pleasure has been shown to help improve one’s memory and concentration, according to research.
For one thing, reading appears to strengthen connections in the brain, according to one study that examined participants’ brains after reading sessions each evening. Researchers found significant increases in connectivity in brain regions that corresponded with language processing, as well as areas responsible for receiving and processing sensory information from across the body.
Another large study suggested that frequent reading was supportive of brain functions such as memory and concentration in later life.
Such findings were echoed in another study that showed reading books and magazines, along with other mentally stimulating activities, can help support memory and thinking skills as people age.
Brain benefits of reading have long been known. The National Institute on Aging recommends that older adults read books and magazines, along with other mentally stimulating activities, to help promote cognitive function in later years.
Reading may even help extend your life. A study of 3,635 individuals found that regular book readers experienced a 20% reduction in risk of mortality at the end of the 12-year study compared with those who didn’t read books.
Pharmacists, as trusted health care professions, can recommend their clients pick up a good book as one why to stay mentally sharp. Tips for getting started include selecting books on topics of interest, getting a library card, and keeping a book on your nightstand.
So, crack open a good book, and let the benefits begin.