EL176045KENTUCKY (5/1/17) — Those who want to boost their health and happiness need look no further than a good book to do so.

Reading helps people of all ages expand their vocabulary. For students, that can translate into improved scores on standardized tests and performance in school. Reading also can lead to higher scores on general tests of intelligence, according to researchers at the University of California, Berkeley.

One of the main advantages to reading, particularly for adults, is that it helps keep minds sharp longer. According to the journal Neurology, reading gives the brain a good workout, which can improve memory function. This can slow down the process of cognitive decline.

Reading also helps boost concentration. Multitasking, checking email, watching television and chatting on social media can cause stress levels to rise and productivity to wane. Conversely, when reading a good book or informative article, all attention is focused on the story. This focus can be extended to other things, such as school or work projects.

Now that just some of the reasons to read have been presented, people may wonder just how to increase their propensity to read. The following are some ideas to get started.

Buy several paper books. While all books and reading materials can be beneficial, paper books may help people stay focused longer. Based on the research paper, "Reading from paper versus screens: A critical review of the empirical literature," by Andrew Dillon, figures vary according to means of calculation and experimental design, but the evidence suggests a performance deficit of between 20 percent and 30 percent when reading from a screen. People can't toggle between apps when reading a paper book versus text on an e-reader, reducing distractions.

Subscribe to magazines and newspapers. Have plenty of reading materials handy, which can easily be tossed in a tote bag or carried to and from appointments. Resist the urge to use a mobile device, opting to read a magazine or paper instead.

Read at the gym. Bringing a book along to the gym has dual benefits. Not only will one be engaging the brain as well as the body, but also becoming absorbed in a chapter or interesting piece can prolong the workout. That means spending more time on that treadmill, elliptical machine or stationary bike to finish the meaty part of a chapter.

Read before bed. Skip late-night television watching in favor of a relaxing read. Blue light, which is emitted from televisions, mobile phones and tablets, signals to the brain that it isn't time for sleep. Therefore, melatonin production can be delayed, making it more difficult to fall asleep. Reading a paper book by a dim light may be relaxing enough to induce sleep. In addition, according to the organization Weight Watchers, snuggling up with a good read tamps down levels of unhealthy stress hormones such as cortisol. Feeling stress-free is a relaxing way to wind down from a tough day.

It is easy to include more reading in your day, especially when people understand the benefits reading provides the mind and body.

SurfKY News
Source: metrocreativeconnection.com

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