Book Smart: Why Reading is Still Important

Book Smart: Why Reading is Still Important

Eat right, exercise, get enough sleep… the good habits we need to stay healthy are a constant throughout our lives.

But what about our cognitive health? What can we do to help keep our minds healthy as we get older? One easy, enjoyable option: read.

Whether it’s a novel or the daily newspaper, regular reading is an excellent way to keep our brains sharp.

Here are four great reasons to make time to read:

Reading decreases stress

Our Golden Years are often portrayed as a relaxing, stress-free time. But any retiree will tell you the stressors just change as we age. Opening a book and imagining a different time or place through a story can be the best medicine for easing the mental stresses of everyday life.

Reading challenges critical thinking skills

Even after our working lives and child-rearing years are over, there are still problems to solve and decisions to be made. That’s why it’s critical to keep our analytical thinking skills sharp. Reading mysteries, science fiction, How-to books and others that require focus is a good way to build new brain pathways and strengthen existing ones.

Reading nurtures brain function

Reading a book, magazine article or even a newspaper keeps your brain in a constant state of engagement as it processes the content. The mental stimulation is like exercise for the brain. Just as our muscles lose their strength when we don’t use them, keeping your brain flexible and active helps prevent it from weakening. It may even help reduce your risk for dementia, according to study published in JAMA Psychiatry in July 2018.

Reading increases empathy

An engaging storyline puts the reader right in the middle of the action. As we follow along, we must be able to understand the thoughts and actions of the characters—that requires empathy. How does this translate to our everyday life? Regularly flexing our emotional intelligence through reading can help enhance our ability to recognize, understand and manage our own emotions in real life.

Whether you’re already an avid reader or just now creating a must-read list, it’s never too late to get started.


Join us for Book Club at Meth-Wick!

Once a month, the Book Club meets in the Live. Laugh. Learn. Center to talk about the Club’s current selection. Watch the Life at Meth-Wick Newsletter for details each month and make plans to join us.