Written by Adonica Nichols, LPN
Reading is Brain Food

Reading is Brain Food

Just as we eat nourishing foods to keep our bodies healthy, we also have to nourish our brains. One of the easiest ways to do this is to pick up a book. Reading has been shown not only to increase intelligence, especially when children start reading at an early age, but also to slow down the brain aging process. Think of reading like an exercise for your brain—the more you exercise it, the stronger it gets.

Some of the many benefits you can expect from reading include increased language, vocabulary, and problem solving skills, enhanced imagination, creativity, and comprehension.  Reading is also known to make a person more empathetic and therefore improve their ability to relate to others.

The most effective method is to do it the old fashioned way; pick up a dusty old book and start reading!  Ebooks are nice and still have benefits, but mental processing can be slowed down by as much as 30% when reading on a device rather than the physical book. It may also negatively affect your eyesight. So, when you’re feeling stressed, find a nice warm place in the sun or under a blanket, grab a story that interests you, and read a few chapters.  Here are some tips and hints to get started:

  1. Pick a subject you already enjoy, whether non-fiction, history, or even romance and search for best sellers in this category. There is a book out there for everyone.
  2. You don’t need to grab a 960 page Charles Dickens novel if you’re not in the habit of reading. Start with some short stories. There are always some short and easy reads that a book store attendant can guide you to.
  3. Join, or start, a book club. You will learn about books you might otherwise never have discovered, and being part of a book club means you are connecting to others. Discussion about the books can give them new meaning and just the act of connecting with others is one of the best things we can do for our brains!
  4. If you think you don’t have time to sit and read, there are audiobooks! You can listen while commuting, exercising, or even cleaning!  You can get unabridged or abridged versions and the narrators can often make it more enjoyable. You may not get the visual exercise of reading, but the other benefits still hold true.
  5. Though it does decrease processing of the book, Ebooks can also still be a good timesaver. You can put them on your phone and read a few chapters when waiting in line or have unexpected time, that is if you don’t carry a bag big enough to carry an actual book around in!

 

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