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Reading a healthy choice

Tuesday, 11 Jan 2022

The benefits of reading with babies and toddlers are well known - cognitive learning, language development and an increased parental bond to name a few - but are you aware of the health benefits that extend beyond the early years and into adulthood.

Generate empathy

Have you ever read a book you found hard to put down? These stories are not only entertaining but hold the power to boost our empathy. By getting to know the characters, readers can better understand what others are thinking by reading other people’s emotions. This is especially true for those reading fiction. The impact is much more significant on those who read literary fiction as opposed to those who read nonfiction.

Mental fitness

Just like keeping physically active exercises your cardiovascular system, reading on a regular basis can improve memory function. Add to this, the increased exposure to language and vocabulary, it is safe to say that ‘reading makes you smarter’.

As Dr Suess once said “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

A quick tip: when looking to exercise your brain, opt for a traditional book – reading on a screen can slow you down by as much as 20 to 30 per cent.

Stress relief

Being a parent can be stressful at times. Keep this in mind, UK research reported that reading is more relaxing than going for a walk, enjoying a cup of tea or listening to music – reducing stress levels by 68 per cent.

So what are you waiting for? Head to your local library and discover the health benefits of reading in your own family.