Hobbies are a great way to spend our free time, whether it be knitting, juggling, birdwatching or reading. Reading is often considered one of the best hobbies to have, and for good reason; it offers a unique set of healthy benefits.
Reading Improves Cognitive Function
When reading, you are actively engaging and strengthening neural connections, helping to improve memory and concentration, and boosting vocabulary, language skills, and comprehension. This is a claim supported by many studies, such as this one from 2021 that concluded frequent reading activities were associated with a reduced risk of cognitive decline for older adults at all levels of education in the long term. Additionally, reading can also help to improve our decision-making abilities, as it helps us to understand and process information more effectively.
Reading Promotes Empathy and Understanding
Reading can also help to improve our emotional intelligence, as it allows us to understand and relate to different characters and situations in a way that can help us to better understand our own emotions and the emotions of others. Although reading is something that is done alone, it encourages connections that might not otherwise be possible. You can learn directly from a soldier in the War of 1812, a researcher in the Arctic or a member of a royal family. Books and reading allow people to reach across vast distances and time, but also other variations like class, gender and ethnicity.
Reading Reduces Stress
When engrossed in a book, a reader can transport themselves to a different world, and take their minds off the stresses and pressures of everyday life. It can be a great way to relax and unwind before bed, which can help to improve sleep quality. A study performed in 2009 at the University of Sussex revealed that reading for just six minutes reduced stress levels by 68 percent, which made it a more effective relaxer than a cup of tea, a walk, or a break to listen to music. Additionally, reading has been shown to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease.
If you’re looking to reap the healthy benefits of reading, now is the perfect time. Just pick a book in a genre that interests you and dive in. You will be amazed at how refreshed you feel mentally after completing a book and want to continue with your healthy reading habit.
Want some great books for your reading hobby? Check out our titles here.