Science Says Reading Books May Make You Live Longer


Time and time again, we've heard about all of the different ways to tack a few extra years onto your lifespan.

From having tons of sex to drinking more coffee, it seems that the possibilities are literally endless. The latest trend to ensure a longer life? Reading.

According to the New York Times, a study in Social Science & Medicine conducted by a group of researchers suggests that a longer lifespan may be linked to frequent reading.

The study's description reads,

Although books can expose people to new people and places, whether books also have health benefits beyond other types of reading materials is not known. This study examined whether those who read books have a survival advantage over those who do not read books and over those who read other types of materials, and if so, whether cognition mediates this book reading effect.

To conduct the study, researchers examined data gathered from 3,635 people over the age of 50. Each of the participants answered a list of questions regarding their personal reading habits.

Once all of the data was collected by the researchers, the main sample was broken down into three different groups: people who don't read any books at all, people who read books up to three and a half hours per week and people who read for more than three and a half hours per week.

Out of the 3,635 people involved, the study concluded that people who read up to three and a half hours per week were 17 percent less likely to die over the course of 12 years.

People who read for more than three and a half hours per week were 23 percent less likely to die.

This means, compared to people who don't read at all, people who read frequently were found to live two years longer.

Becca R. Levy, the senior author of the study and a professor of epidemiology at Yale, spoke about the results, saying,

People who report as little as a half-hour a day of book reading had a significant survival advantage over those who did not read. And the survival advantage remained after adjusting for wealth, education, cognitive ability and many other variables.

Frequent book readers, consider yourselves lucky -- you might've just ensured yourself a longer lifespan without even knowing it!

If you're NOT reading a book for at least three hours a day but you do want to live longer, try exposing yourself to an hour of reading each night and work your way up.

It's never too late.

Citations: Read Books, Live Longer? (New York Times)