Reading Books Could Help You Live Longer

Good news, bookworms. In addition to helping with stress, boosting your intelligence and even increasing your empathy, reading books is also associated with yet another benefit: a longer life.

Research from Yale University found that of 3,635 people surveyed, bookworms were 20% less likely to die over the next 12 years, even after controlling for factors such as gender, education and cognitive ability.

Although reading newspapers and magazines is still good for the mind, the research found that reading books engages the brain and encourages longevity in a more impactful way than periodicals do, likely due to the greater length and depth of books.

Young woman reading book in library, closeup
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The participants in the study were all 50 years and older, but varied widely in their economic, marital, employment and education statuses. They found that on average book readers lived 23 months longer than non-book readers, which held true for all types of participants, regardless of their gender or socioeconomic status.

Reading books also has proven benefits for children that last into adulthood, which is why the Scripps Howard Foundation has launched a literacy campaign called “If You Give a Child a Book.” The foundation raises money and, in a partnership with Scholastic Books, purchases and provides books to children in need through local nonprofit organizations. To date, the Scripps Howard Foundation has donated more than 500,00 books to children in need. You can help by donating online or texting “BOOK” to 345345.

Boy reads book between other books at library
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Ready to read more — right now? Before you reach for that e-reader, consider this. Real Simple points out that there are a number of science-backed reasons to opt for a real book rather than an e-book. Benefits to reading a printed book include increased intelligence and brain power, an improved ability to relate to others, improved understanding and retention of what you’ve read, better sleep and increased relaxation and even a reduced likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

So if you’re looking to have a long and fruitful life, you might want to swap those Netflix hours for some time snuggled up with a good, old-fashioned book!

[h/t: Real Simple]

Simplemost — in partnership with our audiences, our parent company, The E.W. Scripps Company, and the Scripps Howard Foundation — is helping to put books into the hands of kids who need them most as part of the 2021 “If You Give A Child A Book …” campaign. To give, you can make a donation here or text “BOOK” to 345345. To date, the Scripps Howard Foundation has donated over 500,000 books to kids in need.