A book a day keeps the doctor away! Print
Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015 -- 12:00 AM

Ever since I was a child, reading has been one of my favorite things to do.

Perhaps I was fortunate that my parents didn’t buy a television until I was in the fifth grade. We spent our free time playing games of all kinds and doing a lot of reading.
In the summers, we visited the public library every week. I must have read almost every book in the library. I loved books of all kinds!

That love of reading continues to this day. I read several books every week, usually taking time to read during lunch and in the evening after my work is done. Now I’m able to access books through a Kindle, although I still like holding a “real” book in my hands.

Reading is good for health

Besides being something that’s fun to do, I’ve recently learned that reading is actually good for your health. How about that! Something that’s enjoyable and healthy, too!

A report on says that people with poor reading skills are likely to be less healthy than those who read easily. Literacy skills are important for keeping in good shape.
“Some people don’t seem to obtain necessary health information because they’re not good readers,” said this study said.

Benefits of daily reading

In addition to reading about health issues, reading has other benefits. In fact, an article on by Lana Winter-Hébert praises the benefits of reading every day.

Some of these benefits include:

1. Mental stimulation — Studies have shown that staying mentally stimulated can slow the progress of (or possibly event prevent) Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Just like any muscle in the body, the brain requires  exercise to keep it strong and healthy. Besides reading, doing puzzles and playing games such as chess are also helpful.

2.  Stress reduction — No matter how much stress you experience at work or in your personal life, it all just slips away when you lose yourself in a great story.  Reading lets tensions drain away and allows you to relax.

3. Knowledge — Reading gives you more information. The more knowledge you have, the better-equipped you are to tackle life’s challenges.

4. Vocabulary expansion — The more you read, the more words you gain exposure to, and they will inevitably make their way into your everyday speech. Being articulate and well-spoken is of great help in any profession and gives you self-confidence.

5. Memory improvement — When you read a book, you find yourself remembering an assortment of characters and the various plots and sub-plots that weave through a story. Every new memory you create forges new synapses (brain pathways) and strengthens existing ones, which help in short-term memory recall as well as stabilizing moods.

6. Stronger analytical thinking skills — I’ve often read a mystery novel and tried to solve the mystery before I finish the book. Reading helps me and other readers put critical and analytic skills to work.

7. Improved focus and concentration — In our internet-crazed world, our attention is drawn in many different directions. When  you read a book, all of your attention is focused on the story. Try reading for 15 to 20 minutes before work and you’ll be surprized at how much more focused you are once you get to the office.

8. Better writing skills — This goes hand-in-hand with the expansion of your vocabulary. Exposure to published, well-written work has a noted effect on one’s own writing.

9. Tranquility — In addition to the relaxation that accompanies a good book, it’s possible that the subject you read about can bring inner peace and tranquility. Reading spiritual texts can lower blood pressure and bring about a sense of calm, while reading self-help books has been shown to help people suffering from certain mood disorders and mild mental illnesses.

10. Free entertainment — Not all book are free, but for low-budget entertainment, you can visit your local library or go online to download free e-books.

Encouraging children to read

These suggestions on reading apply to adults, but most of them are also appropriate for children. Although children are exposed to electronic devices, it’s important that they know how to read as a basis for those devices, too.

I encourage parents and grandparents to be sure to read with their children and grandchildren and set an example by showing them how you love to read. It’s something we can all do to be happier and healthier!