With the start of fall right around the corner, many people might be searching for new activities to fill their schedules. Gone are the days of beach trips, summer camp, and sunny weather, and days filled with raking the leaves, school, and autumn breezes are approaching. While the changing of the seasons can be daunting to some, it can also be a great way to usher in new and improved habits for you and your loved ones. One activity that can be added to your and your family’s fall itinerary is reading.
Although it is not a new pursuit, reading is a revered hobby that, once added to your routine, can improve many different areas of your life. Reading is a pastime that not only benefits you physically and mentally, but also can be a great way to bond with your loved ones in the new season.
Throughout schooling, teachers stress the importance of reading to their students, and have you ever wondered why? For one, studies have shown that students who read on a regular basis, starting from a young age, typically form large vocabularies. This is a skill that can be useful in all areas of your life, whether it be in school on tests or interviewing for jobs. Having a vast number of words available can come in handy more often than you think.
Over the years, society’s focus on mental health and ways to improve it has grown tremendously. While technology seems like the easiest thing to turn to when you are bored, it can be detrimental to your state of mind. Studies have shown that people who use social media frequently are more likely to experience depression and feel as if their lives are inadequate compared to people who take part more in non-technologically-based activities. Reading books is a great example of a non-screen-based activity that can help improve your mood. In a study done in 2009, reading for just 30 minutes helped reduce students’ stress by lowering their blood pressure and heart rate.
One of the most important skills in life you can have is the ability to empathize with others. Empathy means you can share with and understand the feelings of another, which is vital when forming and fostering connections with others. Reading helps strengthen a person’s empathy because it often calls for the reader to step outside of their own reality and into the world of the narrator. People who read regularly are constantly seeing the world through different people’s eyes, as they journey into the world view of literary characters. Reading helps them gain different perspectives and nurture their ability to understand and appreciate others’ viewpoints.
While the educational benefits of reading might seem obvious to some, one benefit of reading that might be less well-known and makes the activity that much more appealing is that it can actually improve your physical health. Over the span of 12 years, a study was conducted on 3635 adult participants that showed that people who read books lived approximately two years longer than people who read media forms other than books, or who didn’t read at all.
It also showed that people who read 3.5+ hours a week were 23% more likely to live longer than those who did not read. In addition to its capability of increasing your lifespan, reading books regularly as an older adult can help fight off debilitating diseases like Alzheimer’s. In fact, a study found that reading and playing chess regularly can make elderly people 2.5 times less likely to be affected by the disease.
Whether you are by yourself, with your family, or in a book club, reading is a form of entertainment that can bring you joy in many different scenarios. You can read alone and escape the mundanities of everyday life, falling into a world filled with new adventures, and forgetting everyone and everything else around you for a while. You can read to help bond with the people around you, either by reading a book together, or simply by starting a conversation about what you read. While it is one of the oldest pastimes known, it has stood the test of time, and proves to still be one of the world’s most reliable and stimulating hobbies.
With these new reasons to read in mind, you might be interested in adding reading to your routine and wondering where to start. It can be intimidating for someone who hasn’t read regularly to pick up a 300+ page book and think to themselves, “I have to read this?” However, there are many ways you can make reading a more pleasant experience.
You can set up a space in your home dedicated to reading and fill it with items that help you relax. Candles, blankets, pillows, and a comfortable seat are just some things that can make an everyday corner of your house transform into your personal reading nook.
You can also devote a certain time of day to reading so that it becomes a part of your everyday life. For example, if you need an activity to help you unwind from a stressful day at work, reading at 5:30PM for 30 minutes every day can become a part of your daily routine that you look forward to.
Visiting your local library is also a great way to make reading more fun. The Reading Public Library is one of the best libraries around and is only a five-minute drive from us here at First Dental Associates. With the changing of the seasons, now is a great time to change your routine, and make reading a fun new addition to your lifestyle.
While new routines are great, there is one existing routine that you shouldn’t forget, and that’s your six-monthly oral health checkup with your dentist in Reading, MA. We’d love to hear your latest book recommendations when you book your next appointment with our office.