The Benefits of Reading As We Age
When’s the last time you read something that wasn’t a Facebook post or cooking directions? While technology has made it easy for us to consume information in new and innovative ways, there’s no replacing the many advantages of curling up on the couch with a good book. Whether it’s a best-selling novel, a magazine article, or the local newspaper, spending time reading every day offers a variety of health benefits that exercise the mind and promote better aging. Here are seven, to name a few.
Sharpen your focus
While it may be easy for flashbacks of grade school comprehension tests to color your opinion on reading, diving into a good narrative-driven book is an excellent way to help sharpen your ability to focus. Improving your focus can be beneficial in many ways, starting with your ability to increase attention and productivity. It also applies to academic achievement, athletic performance, work results, entrepreneurial success, skill acquisition, and more.
Life is rarely problem-free, and that doesn’t change as you get older. To assist in our problem-solving endeavors, we utilize something called fluid intelligence, or the ability to reason independently of previous learning, experience, or education. Reading helps keep this fluid intelligence intact so that we will be better equipped to handle whatever puzzles or challenges come our way.
Reading has long been shown to stimulate brain activity and improve overall mental health—and both areas are particularly relevant as we get older. By keeping your brain actively stimulated with a good page-turner, not only do you lessen the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, but you also get to kick back on the couch with a pastime that will keep your brain in peak condition.
Knowledge is power
Whomever said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks must have been an apathetic teacher. You’re never too old to stop learning—and reading is one of the most accessible ways to do just that. Whether you’re cracking open a biography, a historical novel, a steamy romance, or the newspaper, reading in all its forms has a way of imparting knowledge. And the best part, you don’t have to go any farther than your living room (or the library) to enter the classroom.
Entertainment and imagination at your fingertips
While there’s no denying the magic of watching a movie on the big screen, there are nearly endless opportunities to access a range of reading materials without the need to go far or spend a cent. Additionally, there’s absolutely no limit to where your mind can take you as you throw yourself into a good book and let your imagination take over.
Getting relaxed for a good night’s sleep can be difficult, especially if it’s preceded by an eventful day—or an evening of TV/screen time (since the blue light emitted from screens can affect the wind-down process). By contrast, reading is a solid way to reduce the stress and transition from busy to bed. When selecting your nighttime reading material, fiction is recommended over non-fiction, as non-fiction tends to lead to introspective thinking, which can keep the mind from turning off.
Retirement may be relaxing in many ways, but it’s far from worry-free. Throw in health concerns, long-term care plans, finances, and evolving living needs, and it can be a bit stressful. In contrast, losing yourself in a good book provides a great way of transporting your mind from the life’s worries to another world, if only for a few hours. And, as highlighted in many of the previous points, it may even offer you the time needed to find solutions to challenges or face the pressures of daily living.
At Summit Vista, we realize safety, health, and well-being are an important consideration when exploring your retirement living options. That’s why we make our community the maintenance-free experience you desire with the peace of mind you’d expect for a happy, healthy future that’s free of concern. For more information about the benefits offered in a Life Plan Community, speak with your retirement counselor, or call 801-758-3138 today.