Readers live longer..........( probably to finish that TBR pile !)

yoyobon_gw

People who read live longer than those who don’t, Yale researchers say

Posted January 4, 2019

THE BENEFITS OF READING SHOULD NOT BE UNDERSTATED, EVEN WHEN IT COMES TO LIVING A LONGER LIFE. A NEW STUDY FINDS THAT READING BOOKS IN PARTICULAR RETURNS COGNITIVE GAINS THAT INCREASE LONGEVITY.

By Laurie Vázquez –

Flying Books – NationalReadingGroupMonth.com – homepg_photo_2014b

Bookworms rejoice! A new study in the journal Social Science and Medicine just discovered that people who read books live longer than people who don’t.

Researchers at Yale University asked 3,635 participants over 50 years-old about their reading habits. From that data, they split the cohort into 3 groups: non-readers, people who read less than 3.5 hours per week, and people who read more than 3.5 hours per week. The researchers followed up with each group for 12 years. The people who read the most were college-educated women in the higher-income group.

Over the course of the study, the researchers consistently found that both groups of readers lived longer than the non-readers. The readers who read over 3.5 hours a week lived a full 23 months longer than the people who didn’t read at all. That extended lifespan applied to all reading participants, regardless of “gender, wealth, education or health” factors, the study explains. That’s a 20% reduction in mortality created by a sedentary activity. That’s a big deal, and a very easy fix for improving quality of life in anyone over 50.

Credit: Social Science and Medicine

The results get better. “Compared to non-book readers,” the authors continue, “book readers had a 4-month survival advantage,” at the age when 20% of their peers passed away. “Book readers also experienced a 20% reduction in risk of mortality over the 12 years of follow up compared to non-book readers.” The authors continue:

“Further, our analyses demonstrated that any level of book reading gave a significantly stronger survival advantage than reading periodicals. This is a novel finding, as previous studies did not compare types of reading material; it indicates that book reading rather than reading in general is driving a survival advantage.”


“Stack ‘o Books” courtesy ABookSource.com

The reason books had greater gains than periodicals is because book reading involves more cognitive faculties. The readers didn’t begin with higher cognitive faculties than the non-readers; they simply engaged in the activity of reading, which heightened those faculties. “This finding suggests that reading books provide a survival advantage due to the immersive nature that helps maintain cognitive status,” said the study’s authors.

As any book lover knows, reading involves two major cognitive processes: deep reading, and emotional connection. Deep reading is a slow process where the reader engages with the book and seeks to understand it within its own context and within the context of the outside world. Emotional connection is where the reader empathizes with the characters, and that promotes social perception and emotional intelligence. Those cognitive processes were cited by the Yale team and used as markers for this study. While they apparently offer a survival advantage, “better health behaviors and reduced stress may explain this process [as well],” according to the study. Still, those cognitive benefits are real, as writer Nicholas Sparr explains [in a video associated with this article].

All the data was self-reported via phone survey and it didn’t really account for ebooks, but it’s still encouraging. There are no real downsides to reading, other than making the time for it. But if you’re not convinced and would rather have John Green teach you literature instead of reading the classics for yourself, philosopher and Yale University Dean Jeffrey Brenzel lays out 5 additional pro-reading benefits for you [in a video associated with this article].

Happy reading!

(For the source of this article, and to watch a couple of videos related to it, please visit: https://bigthink.com/laurie-vazquez/yale-study-people-who-read-live-longer-than-people-who-dont/)

SaveComment7Like1
Comments (7)
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
carolyn_ky

Nice article. I learned o read at four and have been at it ever since (79 years. Do you think I will be immortal?

1 Like Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
vee_new

Carolyn, would you want to be immortal?!

yoyo, I don't know how 'deep' the study was but it might be that non-readers come from disadvantaged backgrounds where books/reading is just never part of their lives, or if female (as most readers seem to be) they never have any time/space to themselves. I don't know about the US but over here reading is often seen as slightly sissy among macho types and even considered by some women to be a sign that someone (probably me) isn't doing enough housework etc!

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
yoyobon_gw

I think that someone who reads appears to be slightly more intelligent and educated ( either by schooling or choice of reading material)......I've never considered it as a sign that someone is lazy or ignoring other responsibilities. As I've said before, I found that students who were readers were better writers , speakers and spellers.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Rosefolly

Interesting!

At one point in my life I like Vee lived in a region where reading for pleasure was regarded with some suspicion. That's certainly not true in the part of the country where I now live. I can think of lots of reasons why that is so, different economy and higher education levels being among them. Perhaps if the effect of extending one's life as a result of reading were better known, reading might be admired more widely, rather than in enclaves here and there.

1 Like Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
msgt800

so, no more "so many books, so little time" ?

1 Like Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Rosefolly

Coming back to say something I've thought several times but neglected to say, and that is, how much I love the title you chose for your post, Yoyobon!

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
yoyobon_gw

Thank you......it also addresses the post " What is humorous to you ?" :0)

1 Like Save    
Browse Gardening and Landscaping Stories on Houzz See all Stories
Most Popular Two of the Best Friends in American Literature Lived Here
Avid ‘Betsy-Tacy’ readers will want to put these 1890s homes on their must-see list
Full Story
Remodeling Guides Houzz Readers Share Stories of How They Survived a Remodel
Learn Houzz users’ tips and tricks for living in or moving out of a home under renovation
Full Story
Before and Afters Reader Laundry Room: A Better Way In for $4,100 in Wisconsin
This laundry room serves as an entrance to the home, but its original finishes lacked personality
Full Story