Speak to a middle or high school aged child and ask what they enjoy doing in their free time. What you’ll likely hear is a mishmash of technology-driven hobbies: playing smartphone games, playing video games, texting, watching TV or browsing the internet. It seems like, for younger generations, the classic leisure time activity of sitting down to enjoy a nice book is a lost art.
Millennials are reportedly reading more than older generations according to Pew, meaning a resurgence could be on the rise–and for good reason. Reading has innumerable benefits to your mind and body. In short, we can grow a lot as human beings simply by taking some time out of our days to read. Here are a few ways we benefit, as told by science, and Walif Chbeir.
Reading is a naturally educational process. There is a reason that past literature is studied so thoroughly in schools from year one until post-graduate schooling: we can use texts as a way to learn and understand things we may not have before.
It’s been shown that regular readers have a smaller chance at developing Alzheimer’s Disease. Forcing yourself to use some cognitive power to focus on your favorite novel or piece of nonfiction exercises your brain and can actually increase intelligence and memory in those who do it regularly.
Spending just an hour or so reading even day or every evening can also help expand our vocabulary–have you ever read a word you didn’t recognize and been forced to go look up its definition? Or, even further, have you seen a word you did not recognize and forced yourself to infer its meaning based on context? These are fantastic examples of natural learning and vocabulary expansion through reading.
Reading before heading to bed (or while in bed) is one of the most calming and relaxing ways to help lull yourself to sleep after a long day.
Instead of turning on the TV, try opening a book while you settle in under the covers. Reading can actually reduce stress according to a 2009 study, allowing you to unwind after a long day at work.
One of the biggest benefits of cracking open your favorite book before bed lies not in what it does offer, but in what it doesn’t. Unlike turning on a movie or TV, sitting in front of your computer or playing on your smartphone, reading a book with some ambient light allows for your body to recognize that it’s time to sleep, not time to get out of bed and get moving.
We Enjoy It
Yes it’s educational and yes it’s relaxing, but the main reason that you should consider opening a book for at least a few minutes a day is simply because it’s enjoyable. It’s a hobby that seemingly far too few people engage in and is vastly underappreciated. Reading is a hobby that one can’t fully appreciate until you give it a shot and allow an open book to take you on a journey.