I recently stumbled upon a study conducted by Yale University’s School of Public Health that found a link between reading and longer life spans. The study, conducted over twenty-plus years, found that, “Compared to non-book readers, book readers had a 23-month survival advantage…”
This goes to show the importance of reading. We already knew that it helps to keep the mind sharp and that it broadens our experiences by introducing us to new ideas. Now it can add to our longevity. Is there anything books can’t do?
Keep in mind that the subjects for this study were all over fifty years of age. It’s probably safe to assume that some of them, if not most, are lifelong readers. Meaning, they started as children and continued to read into their advanced years. But it makes me wonder if there’s a difference between people who started reading at a young age and continued to do so, and those who picked up reading later in life. Would those who started younger have an advantage?
Additionally, the researchers noted that, “our analyses demonstrated that any level of book reading gave a significantly stronger survival advantage than reading periodicals.” So I take this to mean that it doesn’t matter if you’re reading The Cat in the Hat or Finnegans Wake, as long as there’s a book in your hand – and not the latest issue of People magazine – you’re on the right track to a few extra years.
Do yourself a favor and read a chapter or two today. And everyday. You never know, you just might live forever.