Here’s How Reading a Book For a Few Hours a Week Can Add Two Years to Your Life

According to research published in Social Science and Medicine, the hours per week a person spends reading is a significant factor in increasing their longevity.

Using a group of 3,635 people, the scientists divided the participants into three categories:

1) Those who didn’t read at all.

2) Those who read for 3.5 hours per week or less.

3) Those who read for more than 3.5 hours per week.

This was adjusted for other factors which influence longevity such as gender, race, education, wealth, marital status and depression, and they found the those who read for more than 3.5 hours per week were 23 per cent less likely to die than participants from the two other groups.

In addition, the study established a general principle that the more a person reads, the more health benefits they received.

The conclusion of the study’s abstract ends with a rather lovely sentiment:

The benefits of reading books include a longer life in which to read them.

The findings compliment a recent study in Neurology showed that just as jogging improves your cardiovascular system, reading is a good workout for the brain.

It’s hard, if not damn near impossible, to keep up with all the news. With your work network blocking half the sites you want to visit, your “read later” folder grows to an unmanageable length. So each week we’re doing the dirty work for you (it’s really no problem, our office network is unrestricted). Here’s what you missed this week in the world of wellness, productivity and creativity—and your talking points to keep up with the conversation at happy hour tonight.

  • In the middle of a dry spell? Don’t feel bad—it seems you’re not alone. The internet has been a flutter this week with concern over the frequency of booty calls on millennial’s calendars. Researchers who track generational differences in behavior have found that today’syoung people are hooking up less than members of past recent generations did when they were the same age. What’s to blame for the lack of action? One explanation is the way millenials are adult-ing: they are getting married later, more of them still live with their parents, and much of their social lives have shifted online as technology has developed.
  • If the joy that spreads through your body when someone holds the door for you at Starbucks (or the intense anger when they let it slam in your face) is any indication: kindness is certainly contagious. But according to an article in Scientific American written by Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, Jamil Zaki, simply witnessing kindness, even if you’re not on the receiving end, inspires kindness, causing it to spread like a virus. His studies found that participants who believed others were generous became more generous themselves. One of their hypothesis for why is that people value being on the same page with others. This may be one case where conformity is a positive.
  • Forget to floss yesterday? And the day before? And perhaps the day before that? No need to confess to the dental Gods. Flossing daily to prevent gum disease may be one of the most universally accepted public health tactics, but research conducted by the Associated Pressrevealed that there’s little proof to back up the claims. While scientific evidence may be weak, dentists aren’t jumping off the floss wagon just yet. Since it’s low risk and low cost, the consensus is basically, “can’t hurt” (insert shoulder shrug here). But you can feel a little less guilty at your 6-month cleaning when your dentist asks about your flossing habits.
  • Feel like you need a personal assistant just to remember all your damn passwords? We hear you. We all agree, it’s time to kill passwords. And there’s hope in sight: New biometric approaches are beginning to hit the market that let you log in with fingerprint, iris, facial recognition, and voice authentication—moving us in a direction that will hopefully render passwords obsolete. And in addition to convenience, they offer increased security. So as you mutter under your breathe filling out yet another reset password form, know that someday your devices will remember you.
  • Anyone who has spent hours in an ideation meeting can probably agree that our approach to brainstorming can use an update. As enjoyable as it is to sit around a table and shout out ideas, which inevitably turns into a conversation dominated by a few select loud mouths, researchers have found that it’s not all that effective. In fact, they found that people generate fewer good ideas when they brainstorm together than when they work alone. Instead, researchers propose a tactic called  brainwriting: instead of batting around ideas verbally, everyone writes down thoughts and then notes are passed around so every member of the group can see—and be inspired by—their coworkers’ thoughts before adding their own. Suggest it to your boss the next time a brainstorming session pops up on your calendar (and earn major brownie points with your co-workers).
  • You now have an actual excuse to log off at night and bury your head in the new Harry Potter. Reading, it turns out, has some real health benefits. As in, extending your lifespan real. According to a new report, when compared with those who didn’t read books, those who read for up to three and a half hours a week were 17 percent less likely to die over 12 years of follow-up, and those who read more than that were 23 percent less likely to die. Overall, book readers lived an average of almost two years longer than those who did not read at all. If novels aren’t your thing, they did find a similar association among those who read newspapers and periodicals, although it was a weaker one. (Side note: you’re more likely to read books if you’re female, college-educated and in higher income groups.) Do mindless Buzzfeed articles count? We’ve been reading them all day.

Written by How Africa

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