It can be a ticket to a far off land or the passport to a greater knowledge of a subject – the benefits of reading are almost as vast and infinite as books themselves.
It’s a hobby the team at READ Foundation try to nurture at a young age – when building new schools, we always ensure that we include state-of-the-art libraries brimming with books for young minds to absorb.
But the benefits of reading don’t just extend to children. As adults, reading can be anything from a form of escapism to a chance to expand our vocabularies.
As part of our READ Day celebrations, we’ve put together a list of our favourite benefits of reading for you to enjoy.
A Form of Escapism
Reading is a chance to switch off after a hectic day at work and escape to another world. One of the benefits of reading regularly can be lower blood pressure and a lift in mood. Reading spiritual texts can also bring about a sense of calm and peacefulness. READ student Adnan couldn’t agree more. Adnan told us: “When I read stories I can get lost in the pages and escape to a different world. I’ve learned a lot about life reading my favourite books.”
Expand Your Vocabulary
Even as adults, we should always approach each day as a new opportunity to learn. Reading a wide variety of books offers you the chance to expand your vocabulary or even learn a new language.
Be a Good Influence
Children are very impressionable and are more prone to mimicking the behaviour of those around them. Have you ever seen an adult doing something on their mobile phone and a young toddler desperate to grab it off them and see what the fascination is? It can be the same with books. If your own child or children in your family see you absorbed in a good read, chances are they’ll want to get involved too.
According to an article on Life Hack, logging off the internet and picking up a book can improve your focus and concentration levels. The article tells us that in a single five-minute span at work, the average person will divide their time between working on a task, checking email, chatting to friends, monitoring social media and interacting with co-workers. It explains: “this type of ADD-like behaviour causes stress levels to rise and lowers productivity”. It advises reading for 15-20 minutes on the commute to work to increase focus once you arrive at the office.
One of the most fantastic benefits of reading is that it can help reduce stress. Researchers have found reading, even for just six minutes, can reduce stress levels by more than two thirds. Psychologists believe this is because the human mind has to concentrate on reading and the distraction of being taken into a literary world eases tensions in the muscles and the heart.
While the latest electronic devices can cost the earth, your local library offers a world of entertainment at your fingertips at little to no cost. Find your local library services and get reading
Better Writing Skills
Want to be a better writer? Read more! In the same way that musicians listen to music and comedians watch other performers, you can hone a craft by seeing how others have done it before you. If you want to expand your writing further, why not sign up to take part in our 2019 Writing Competition?
Increased Life Expectancy
Believe it or not, reading books has been found to help you live longer. Researchers found that people over 50 who read books for three and a half hours per week were 17% less likely to die in the following 12 years. Book readers lived an average of almost two years longer than those who did not read at all.
A Chance to Learn
Reading offers you the opportunity to learn something new, or get more clued up about a subject you’re already passionate about. READ Foundation teacher, Ms Azra, told us that reading up on marine biology is one of her favourite past-times. She said: “I’ve always been curious about what’s lurking under the sea and delving into marine biology.”
A Better Night’s Sleep
Reading for six minutes before bed can help you sleep better. Scientists at the University of Sussex have found the best way to relax at night is to immerse yourself in a good book. So, if you’re having trouble catching some ZZZZs, perhaps it’s time to rekindle that love of reading?
Enjoyed our blog? Tell us about your own favourite books on our READ Foundation Twitter. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #READMe.