Reading is a wonderful hobby that keeps the mind healthy. Reading at any age has many benefits that include reducing stress, enhancing sleep, improving memory, sharpening decision-making skills, and delaying the development of diseases like dementia and Alzheimer's.
As we age, everyone has many different aspects of life and health to take care of. To live a long and independent life, it is necessary to preserve mental fitness. While this can be a challenge, there are lots of relatively easy and small things you can do daily to help accomplish this. Reading books of interest to you can help a lot in safeguarding your skills and abilities. Learn more about the rest of the benefits of reading in retirement below:
1. Increase Socialization
If you love reading books, perhaps you will enjoy joining a book club. A book club is a place where you can stay up to date with the new upcoming books, and you can spend time with other club members. Increasing socialization is extremely beneficial for senior living. Book clubs provide this opportunity to meet with the people who have the same interests. The process of thinking and staying up to date with the books will help to keep the mind in good shape.
Do you want to read and socialize from home? You can even join book clubs online! There are several different styles to choose from, and you can enjoy the perks of being in a book club without having to go anywhere. Check out Book Riot's list of the Best Online Books Clubs here.
2. Encourage Lifelong Learning
Reading is not just about engaging in a mind-stimulating activity. It is also a source of staying up-to-date with the latest events and popular culture. Whatever topic you choose, you can stay in the know and learn new things every day. This sensation of learning can even make you feel motivated to learn about even more topics or dig deeper into your favorites.
3. Enhance Memory
Reading is crucial to keep the mind active and healthy. Neurology research on 294 seniors found that seniors involved in a life-long learning activity had a slower rate of memory decline than others who did not. Engaging yourself in a mentally stimulating activity enhances the cognitive skills necessary for the short-term recall of events. It was found that seniors who immersed themselves in mental activities had a reduced memory decline rate by 32%. Reading can strengthen the brain's neural network, making your mind more receptive to learning. Whenever you open a book, you have to remember what the previous chapter was about, who the characters were, what the plot is, and the subplots scattered throughout the story. When you are reading the story, your brain works continuously to retain the information. This exercises the memory portion of your mind. Every time you try to remember something, you form a new memory that exercises your memory muscles.
4. Sharpen Decision-Making Skills:
Challenging our brain on a routine basis can improve fluid intelligence, or the ability to perceive relationships independent of previous specific practice or instruction concerning those relationships. Fluid intelligence naturally declines with adulthood. A study of people ages 25 to 74 found that people who engage themselves in daily engaging activities such as reading have more fluid intelligence than those who do not. Reading has the power to improve analytical and reasoning ability that helps seniors to solve problems. If not being engaged, some mind struggling activity can reduce fluid intelligence with time.
5. Improve Sleep:
Reading in bed is considered a signal to the body that it is the time for sleep. Reading encourages sleep better than any other activity and gives your eyes necessary rest from blue light before sleeping. Experts say that senior should specify a time for book reading before they go for sleep.
Do you want more tips to enhance your sleep, check out our recent blog, "10 Tips for a Better Night's Sleep"!
6. Reduce Stress:
Pick up a book, a novel, or any other reading material that can take your stress away. A novel with a good story can transform your mind into a story, distracting you from all stresses you have. When you start reading, you become more focused on the story, which helps you to rewind. Mindlab International conducted research at the University of Sussex, saying that reading a good book helps to rewind better than listening to music, going for a walk, or having a cup of coffee.
7. Delay Onset of Alzheimer's and Dementia:
Research has found that adults who engage in brain-challenging activities will be less likely to develop the symptoms of Alzheimer's and Dementia. Dr. Zaven Khachaturian, a senior advisor of the Alzheimer's Association, says that mentally intense hobbies build neuronal connections that help delay Alzheimer's. The neuronal connections make it take longer for Alzheimer's disease to destroy enough neurons to show symptoms. Another study from Rush University Medical Center says that continuous mental activities such as reading can preserve the brain structures that are important for cognition in late life. To maintain your mental fitness, engage in activities that can keep your mind engaged for a long time.