Good news for avid book readers. A recent study finds that reading a chapter a day could extend lifespan by up to 2 years. In addition, study authors say the more often you read, the better.
Researchers analyzed data from more than 3600 men and women age 50 and up. The participants self-reported their reading habits. Survival rate was monitored over a 12 year follow-up period. Those who read books for up to 3.5 hours per week (an average of 30 minutes per day), had a 17% better survival rate over the 12 year follow-up, in comparison to their non-reading counterparts. Furthermore, for adults who read more than 3.5 hours weekly the number rose to 23%. Overall, the survival rate for the readers was nearly 2 years longer over the follow-up period than non-readers.
Important to note is that the study results remained even after adjusting for age, gender, marital status, education, and health status. Additionally, while the effect was much less than book reading, the participants who reported reading magazines and newspapers also showed an increase in survival over non-readers.
Stay tuned for a future article on other health and well-being benefits of reading.
Source: Bavishi A, Slade M, Levy B. A chapter a day: Association of book reading with longevity. Social Science & Medicine, Sept 2016; 164: 44-48.