8 Proven Health Benefits to Reading (Real) Books

We usually talk about print in terms of how it fits into the marketing landscape. Today, I’m taking a different approach, not related to business at all: I want to share with you some important information about your health. Abigail Wise writes in RealSimple about the perks to health and happiness that reading print books can provide.

“There’s nothing like the smell of old books or the crack of a new one’s spine,” she writes, “(Plus, you’ll never run low on battery.) And it turns out that diving into a page-turner can also offer benefits toward your health and happiness.”

Wise breaks down some of bennies for us:

  • It increases intelligence.
  • It boosts your brain power.
  • Reading in print can make you more empathetic.
  • Flipping pages increases comprehension.
  • It can help you relax, reducing stress by as much as 68%.
  • It can help you sleep better; in fact reading digital devices can throw off your sleep.
  • Reading is contagious.

I’ve covered many of these benefits before, and Wise does a great job of supporting these claims with links to conclusive scientific studies. Then she throws in the kicker, at least for me.

Reading can be an important weapon in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease, an increasingly devastating health problem. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, one in 10 people over the age of 65 has the disease, and it’s the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. And the problem is increasing at an alarming pace; deaths from Alzheimer’s have increased by 89% since the turn of the century – probably in part because doctors are better at diagnosing it, but there’s no denying it’s a growing threat.

Here’s the good news: Brain stimulating activities – like reading – has been shown to reduce the prevalence of symptoms.

“Those who engage their brains through activities such as reading, chess, or puzzles could be 2.5 times less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than those who spend their down time on less stimulating activities,” Wise notes.

It’s enough to make anyone think twice about picking up their phone when they could be reading a good book.