Time spent with your nose in a book isn’t wasted. In fact, bookworms may be adding years to their lives.
Researchers from Yale University recently divided a sample of 3,500 people into three groups: non-readers, those who read for three and half hours each week, and those who spent even more time reading each week.
At the end of 12 years, the team followed up with participants (who were all over the age of 50). In addition to discovering that book readers were typically college educated women with high incomes, researchers found that readers lived up to two years longer than non-readers.
30 minutes a day
Individuals in the second group (moderate readers who logged around three hours reading each week) lowered their risk of dying by 17 percent. And the likelihood decreased the more avid the reader.
Voracious readers who spent more than three and a half hours per week buried in a book were 23% less likely to die compared to those who didn’t read.
But as it turns out, not just any reading material will do. Newspapers and magazines were somewhat beneficial in lengthening a person’s lifespan, but books tacked on the most time (an average of 23 extra months).
“People who report as little as a half-hour a day of book reading had a significant survival advantage over those who did not read,” senior author, Becca R. Levy, a professor of epidemiology at Yale, told the New York Times. “And the survival advantage remained after adjusting for wealth, education, cognitive ability, and many other variables.”
The study was published recently in the journal Social Science & Medicine.