Read to live: how reading may increase one’s lifespan

We all love reading for many reasons: curiosity and pursuit of knowledge, a feeling of adventure and escape, and in general, inspiration and enrichment of our lives. What George R.R. Martin. a famous American novelist and short story writer, mentioned in his book A Dance with Dragons about a reader living a thousand lives before he dies, almost comes close to what a Yale University Study has proven about prolonging one’s life through reading.

Reading books can be beneficial to one’s health, as researchers of the Yale University School of Public Health have shown in their data comprising of 3,635 participants over the age of 50. The participants who read for up to three and a half hours a week had 17% reduction in risk of mortality over the 12 years of follow-up. While those who read more than that had a 23% reduction in risk of mortality. Compared to those who did not read at all, those who read books had an average of two years of living longer. The study also included participants who read newspapers and periodicals, but the book readers still manage to come out as those with a significantly higher edge and advantage of “survival.” This study has been published in the September 2016 issue of the Social Science and Medicine journal, volume 164.

So the next time we excuse ourselves from an activity or gathering and would rather, “go home and curl up with a good book,” we may be doing ourselves a favor in so far as health, survival, and longevity are concerned.


https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0277953616303689. Accessed on 12 February 2019.

https://harvard.rarebirdinc.com/healthy-aging/reading-books-may-add-years-to-your-life. Accessed on 12 February 2019.

https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/08/03/read-books-live-longer/. Accessed on 12 February 2019.


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