Do you prefer rereading books you already know and love? Or would you rather find some new books that will (hopefully) surprise and delight you? Whichever path you choose, reading is always a good idea. Many people transition from books to TV as they age, but we’d like to encourage you to swap that remote for a good novel. No matter which genre you prefer (clever mysteries, page-turning thrillers, steamy romances, impressive literary works), you can enjoy the health benefits of reading. Ready, set, read!
Health Benefits of Reading
When you read, you’re engaging in a brain exercise that strengthens your memory. Not only does this help you recall everyday events in the short term, but also it can enhance your brain’s neural network. If you continue reading regularly, this will prime your brain to learn new things and retain memories. Who doesn’t want to be a lifelong learner? Even in your sunset years, reading can enhance your memory and help you learn something new.
Protects Cognitive Health
According to a study conducted at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, taking part in mentally stimulating activities (including reading) can help preserve your memory and thinking skills. Participants who regularly engaged in activities that challenged their minds had a slower rate of memory decline when compared to those who did not engage in such activities. So if you’re looking to slow down late-life cognitive decline, why not crack open a good book?
Books can help you escape the world – and all the worries and stressors within it. So if you need to unwind after a stressful day, turn to a good book (and perhaps a hot cup of coffee or tea) and get lost in the fictional world. Before you know it, your heart rate will calm and your muscles will relax. Depending on the book you choose, you might experience some beneficial emotions as well: happiness, amusement, or perhaps even catharsis.
Now that you know one of the health benefits of reading is reduced stress, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that reading also improves sleep for many people. If you have trouble falling asleep, you could try reading before bed – a time-tested tradition that is more likely to help you fall asleep than keeping on the TV (source). Add it to the end of your bedtime routine (brushing your teeth, undressing) to signal to your body that it’s time to sleep.
Many people prefer to enjoy reading as a solitary activity, but if you like, you can use it as an opportunity to connect with other people. You could create a book club or ask your local libraries and bookstores if they host reading clubs or author events. Remember that this doesn’t need to be a stressful, time-consuming activity. You could even create a low-key book club with only two members – you and your best bud!
Reading may be fun, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t beneficial to your mental (and potentially your social) health. So while we encourage you to read for enjoyment or information, we hope that you also cherish the fact that reading can enhance your memory, reduce stress, delay the onset of Alzheimer’s, and more. Find a book that you love (a bookseller or librarian can help if you’re having trouble), and get reading!
Are you looking for an assisted living community in Tennessee? Check out Hearthside Senior Living in Collierville and Bartlett. Our warm and inviting communities makes it easy for seniors to embrace a healthy lifestyle, with home-cooked and restaurant-style meals, exercise classes, and a nurse devoted to residents’ health and wellness. To learn more about our amenities and services, please contact us online.