Reading may add a boost to your lifespan

Tue, Aug 9, 2016

People who regularly cozy up with a good book might enjoy a few more years of life, new research reveals.


The research, published in the journal Social Science & Medicine, found that adults who reported reading magazines and newspapers showed an increase in longevity compared to nonreaders.


Researchers, led by Becca R. Levy, a professor of epidemiology at Yale University School of Public Health, analyzed the data of 3,635 men and women who were part of the Health and Retirement Study, Medical News Today reported.


Participants self-reported their reading habits. Subjects were followed up for an average of 12 years, and their survival was monitored during this time.


Compared with adults who did not read books, those who read books for up to 3½ hours each week were 17 percent less likely to die over the 12-year follow up, while those who read for more than 3½ hours weekly were 23 percent less likely to die.


Overall, adults who read books survived almost 2 years longer over the 12-year follow up than those who didn’t read books.


“Reading is an activity that for most of us is cheap and easy to do. It provides stress relief and gives us an opportunity to relax for a period of time,” said Dr. Lynn Wagner, an integrative lifestyle medicine physician with BayCare Clinic in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Wagner was not involved in the reading study. “Relaxation and the ability to manage stress are key factors in promoting our own health and wellness.”


Researchers suspect the increase in the survival rate may be due to cognitive benefits that reading can provide.


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BayCare Clinic,, is the largest physician-owned specialty-care clinic in northeastern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It is based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. BayCare Clinic offers expertise in more than 20 specialties, with more than 100 physicians serving in 16 area communities. BayCare Clinic is a joint partner in Aurora BayCare Medical Center, a 167-bed, full-service hospital. Follow BayCare Clinic on Facebook and Twitter.