February 24, 2017

The secret to a longer life? Credit: Les Chatfield / Flickr Creative Commons

Bookworms everywhere, rejoice! Apparently, keeping your nose betwixt pages is the key to a longer life. Really. 

A study published in Social Science and Medicine found that book readers lived 23-months longer -- not controlling for factors like gender, race, and education. And when researcher Avni Bavishi did control for those factors, she found that “books are protective regardless of gender, wealth, education, or health,” though it was much harder to identify the number of months someone's life was extended by.

Three Takeaways:

  • Apparently, not all reading is created equal. Readers were much more likely to live longer if they read books than if they read newspapers and magazines.
  • Bibliophiles needed to spend three hours a week to see any cognitive benefit, whereas magazine aficionados need to spend, on average, seven hours a week poring over periodicals.
  • Why the difference between the two? Bavishi isn’t sure, but she thinks it might have something to do with the complexity of books. “Reading books give you a deep dive into the literature that enhances neural connections,” she says. And maybe that cognitive improvement helps increase your lifespan, too.

More Reading (It's Good For You!):

Avni Bavishi, books, Culture, Kara Miller

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