Retirees over the age of 50 who regularly consume books, articles and blogs will do more than just stay informed. Below are six additional benefits of reading that many people might not be aware of.
Sharper Decision Making Capacity
Those who read books will develop stronger reasoning and analytical skills. This makes it easier for them to solve problems, a phenomenon which scientists have called fluid intelligence. People that don’t read after the age of fifty will actually experience a decline in their decision making ability, so continually absorbing information is crucial as it will challenge your brain.
Alleviates Anxiety and Stress
It is well known to both researchers and the general public that a connection exists between stress and disease. However, scientists have also discovered that reading reduces stress far better than activities such as walking or even listening to music. Those who read for at least six minutes per day will relax their heart rate as well as muscle tension.
A study was conducted on almost 300 retirees over the age of 50 which revealed that those who regularly engaged in activities which were mentally stimulating such as reading manifested slower memory decline. It is believed that this is because regularly reading challenges memory, particularly shorter term recall, and it will also strengthen the cerebral neural network.
The benefits of reading before going to bed has been well known for decades, and is the reason children enjoy hearing bedtime stories. But they also benefit elders because reading signals to the body that it is time to sleep and will put you in a state of relaxation.
Combats Dementia and Alzheimer’s
Two of the most devastating diseases that elders face are dementia and Alzheimer’s. Both involve progressive memory impairment where one will gradually lose the ability to remember things and even perform basic daily activities. There are a number of conditions that can lead to both including stroke, but researchers have found that elders who read voraciously could delay or even prevent the onset of these diseases.
Reduce Loneliness and Depression
It might seem strange that reading a book can alleviate loneliness, since it appears to be a solitary activity. However, this isn’t technically true. Though you might be physically alone when reading the book, you’re interacting with the author of the text through their written words, and are seeing things from their point of view. The more books you have, the less lonely you’ll be since you’ll have access to the thoughts of others. And because reading tends to help you relax and unwind, it will distract you from life problems which can alleviate depression, and depending on the information you gleam from the text it might actually help you come up with solutions.
Despite the above advantages of reading, some over the age of 50 might be reluctant to do so especially if they have visual issues. The good news is that there are a number of options available to overcome this, including large print texts and audio books.