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July 15, 2016 | Lake Gibson Village

The benefits of reading — whether alone or as part of a group — are many

Whether you read quietly in bed before falling asleep, share reading time with a grandchild, or join a book club and engage in lively discussion about a book you’ve just read, there are great reasons to be reading on a regular basis:

  1. Sharpens Your Mind

When senior adults are mentally stimulated by activities such as reading, research studies have shown that these activities help to slow or possibly prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia. A study of 294 seniors published in Neurology found that those who engaged in mentally simulating activities such as reading during their life had slower rates of memory decline compared to those who did not. Remember, your brain needs exercise just like all the muscles in your body.

  1. Reduces Stress and Boosts Your Mood

A book can distract you from any worries or tensions you may have and help you relax. When you share the experience — such as reading to a child or joining a book club — it can help you forget any worries. Not to mention, it can increase your happiness to make it a part of your social life.

  1. Helps You Sleep Better

Research done by the Mayo Clinic showed that creating a bedtime ritual, such as reading, signals the body that it’s time for sleep. This activity induces a better night’s rest than falling asleep in front of a television screen or other electronic device, which studies show actually keep people awake longer or even disrupt their rest.

  1. Adds to Your Daily Enjoyment of Life

Now that you are in this “stage” of life, you have more time to enjoy life to its fullest. Make the most of it and find at least 30 minutes a day to read a newspaper, magazine or book. Think about getting a Kindle or other device, which makes it easy to carry your reading material with you. You can purchase electronic versions of books for your device or even download free library books onto it. Even better, walk to your local library or book exchange, and reap the exercise benefits as well as the mental ones!

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