Want to Live Longer? Grab a Book!

Reading, especially books, linked to longevity

Common sense says that reading a book is better for the brain than watching television. New research suggests that reading may be better for your health than you ever imagined.

Yale University’s School of Public Health has published a new study in Social Science and Medicine that links reading with longevity. That’s right—researchers believe there is actually a connection between frequent reading and living longer.

library books in a libraryThe study suggests that people who read live up to two years longer than those who don’t read at all. The study also found that reading books increased the survival advantage more than magazines or newspapers.

But, according to the study, you don’t have to be reading Yale textbooks to expand your life expectancy. The research team found it was the time spent reading that mattered most.

To study the effect of reading on survival advantage, the Yale team surveyed 3,635 people 60 years and older. The researchers split the participants into three groups: those who read a maximum of three and a half hours per week, those who read more than three and a half hours per week and those who didn’t read at all.

After considering variables of age, gender, education and income, researchers were able to isolate reading as a factor in increasing lifespan, and that increase was significant.

After a 12-year follow up, the Yale team found that those who read more than three and a half hours per week had a 20 percent reduction in the risk of mortality compared to non-book readers.

“These findings suggest that the benefits of reading books include a longer life in which to read them,” write the authors in the study.

So, want to live longer? Find a book that interests you and read on!

This study was published in September 2016 in Social Science and Medicine. The authors disclosed no funding information or conflicts of interest.

Social Science and Medicine, “A chapter a day: Association of book reading with longevity.” http://www.journals.elsevier.com/social-science-and-medicine