Want To Live Longer? Read! New Study Shows Reading Books Increase Survival!

It’s true! For all you book nerds and lovers out there, you can read easy knowing that it’s not only an immersive experience, but will also extend your lifespan.

A new 2016 study by Avni, Banish, Martin D. Slade and Becca R. Levy named “A chapter a day: Association of book reading with longevity” has released results suggesting the positive health effects of reading books.

Who were the subjects?

3625 adults (predominantly female) over the age of 50 making up a sample representative of the United States population.

How was this tested?

Source: Graphic Stock

Source: Graphic Stock

People were asked how much time they spent reading books as well as time spent reading periodicals during the Consumption and Activities Mail Survey (CAMS) in 2001. They then determined vital status by matching participants to the National Death Index, following up until their death or December 31, 2012.

What were the results?

Source: Graphic Stock

Source: Graphic Stock

  • Book reading was linked to significantly greater survival for the groups reading 0.01-3.49 hours and 3.5 and more hours.
  • 33% of non-book readers died compared to the 27% of book readers.
  • A protective effect was also grasped from the 7 or more hours of periodical reading but reading books seemed to have a greater overall protective effect.
  • The study’s sample showed book readers lived 108 months while those that did not lived for 85 months: a 23-month survival advantage (nearly two years)!
  • Older individuals, despite gender, health, wealth, or education all had the same effect for reading books.

Why does this happen?

Source: Graphic Stock

Source: Graphic Stock

Book reading has a particular effect on survival because of cognition. Cognition mediates the relationship between reading and survival. Going into the book and understanding it on that deep level is the key to better survival.

What should I do?

Based on the studies, reading books for an average of 30 minutes a day will grant people a greater chance of survival.

Alright, it’s time to get reading! Cheers to a long life!


h/t The New York Times

Featured image via Graphic Stock

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