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Bookworms Unite: How Reading is Good for You

We all remember our elementary school teachers telling us how important reading is. While we may not have listened then, we’re certainly listening now. Turns out, reading on a consistent basis has some serious benefits in store.

If you’re a bookworm, you know just how great reading can be. If you’re not, check it out, and see all the benefits books can give.

Reading engages mental stimulation.
Keeping your brain active and engaged helps keep it from slowing over time. Studies have shown that staying mentally stimulated can slow or even prevent the occurrence of conditions like Alzheimer’s or Dementia. The brain requires exercise to stay healthy, and reading books provides just the right amount. So the next time you’re feeling a little groggy or lagging behind, try giving yourself a boost by cracking a good book.

Reading reduces stress.
No matter what’s going on in your life, there’s just something about curling up with a good book that makes it all melt away. Reading reduces the levels of unhealthy stress hormones like cortisol, making you feel more relaxed and at ease. You’re transported to a new world, time or even universe, and the worries of this one all disappear, if only for a short while.

Reading grows vocabulary.
According to a recent report by Scholastic, researchers estimate that we learn between five and 15 percent of all the words we know through reading. While this is particularly important for children, even adults can continue to grow and expand their vocabulary. A broader vocabulary allows us to interact with more people, challenge our intellect and broaden our horizon of scholastic possibilities.

Reading improves concentration.
A recent Time report announced that as of 2013 humans now have an average attention span of only eight seconds, less than the nine-second attention span of goldfish. However, reading combats this by focusing our attention on one task for a significant amount of time. Whether it’s reading for 15 minutes in the morning before work or reading for two hours in the evening before bed, you’d be surprised how much more focused you are after reading a good book.

Reading improves writing.
If you’re interested in improving your writing skills for work, class or personal use, try starting out with reading first. Not only can reading improve our vocabulary, grammar and syntax, but it also exposes us to different styles of writing, fluidity and voice. In the same way that artists inspire other artists, so do writers encourage other writers through reading their books.

Reading strengthens empathy.
Books transport us to new cultures and expose us to new and interesting ways of life—teaching us about things we never could have even imagined. Seeing the world through a different set of eyes improves our empathy skills and teaches us that things aren’t always as they seem from our point of view, thus strengthening our real-world relationship skills.

So go ahead, take your elementary teacher’s advice and give reading a shot. Sail the world, lead a nation or meet a mythical creature all from the comfort of your own home. You may discover reading is a whole new adventure just waiting to be explored.