Reading is always a great activity. Books open us up to different perspectives and make us see the world in new ways. Everyone from a young child to someone in their golden years can benefit from sitting down with a book. But what are the specific benefits of reading for someone your age? Read on to find out.
Increases Brain Activity
We all know that using a particular muscle group during exercise can help make it stronger. The same concept also applies to the brain. Studies have proven that regular reading can lead to an increase in brain activity and help with memory loss as you get older. Like the muscles in other parts of your body, the brain gets stronger with regular use. If you find reading to be difficult, having a loved one sit down with you can also help you reap the rewards of increased brain activity.
Help with Dementia and Alzheimer’s
Studies have shown that reading and similarly mentally-intense activities can build a bank of neuronal connections. Diseases like Alzheimer’s will be less likely to destroy your neurons as they benefit from this brain-strengthening effect of reading. This helps to stave away Alzheimer’s. Studies have also found that frequent mental activities like reading can help preserve brain structures, which are vital for cognition in later years.
Research has shown that it only takes about 6 minutes for a person’s heart rate to stabilize and slow down once they listen to someone read. Reading is a relaxing activity that helps anchor the mind and helps you unwind.
Reading has also been associated with improved sleep quality. If you’re used to watching TV before bed, swap your TV show with a book – screentime before bed is detrimental to sleep. So if you’re finding it difficult to get to sleep at night, one thing you could try is settling down with a nice book to help you relax.
Lastly, reading also has been shown to relieve anxiety, with research showing that people who read regularly have a lower likelihood of acting impulsively. Frequent readers are more likely to process information before reacting to things. All of these benefits show that reading is a great stress-reliever and helps with mental clarity.
Sharpens Decision-Making Skills
Regular reading can help you improve your analytical and reasoning power. This helps you problem-solve more effectively. As you get older, the ability you have that is known as “fluid intelligence” may decline. However, regular reading is one of the many mind-boosting activities that can keep your mind sharp and help you retain your fluid intelligence.
Reading At Your Age
While the benefits of reading are numerous, there may be certain factors that could make it hard to do. If your eyesight is troubling you, you could look for large-print books. These should also be available at local libraries. E-readers are also another alternative that you can consider, with options to change the font size and other elements for an easier reading experience. Whatever method of reading you choose, it’s good to embark on the habit today for a healthy and happy retirement.