Why reading lots is healthy
Your health is important. To keep your body at its best, you pack your diet with fruits and green vegetables, get regular exercise and drink plenty of water. And diet and fitness are crucial, but what if cracking a book could be the next important step toward maintaining your wellness? 

Even if you wouldn’t describe yourself as a bookworm, getting lost in a good page-turner for just a few minutes each day can make a positive impact on your health and happiness. Let’s look at why reading should become part of your daily routine.

Reading reduces stress.
Reading relaxes you. Research shows that reading is one of the most effective ways to lower stress. A 2009 study by Sussex University found reading can reduce stress by up to 68 percent, proving even more effective than listening to music or taking a walk. No matter what you choose to read, becoming absorbed in the characters or plot releases tension in muscles and your heart. 

Practitioners suggest that choosing self-help books may help ease mild to moderate depression. When reading about people facing situations similar to our own, we can connect, relate, and apply suggestions and solutions to our own experiences.  

Snuggling up with a book can help you sleep.
Creating a relaxing bedtime routine that includes reading can prepare your body for a better night’s rest. While reading on electronic devices is becoming increasingly popular, it’s best to do your wind-down ritual without a screen. Experts say the screen glow can interfere with the body’s natural rhythm, making it more difficult to fall asleep. 

Reading is weight training for your brain. 
Like any muscle, the brain requires regular exercise. Reading helps keep the brain sharp, improves cognitive function and memory, and reduces mental decline. Regular readers may even be less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.

Where to find some great reads.
Finding the right titles has never been easier. If e-books are your preference, most local libraries have access to thousands of free downloadable titles. Book clubs are an excellent way to get involved with a community of readers. Visit your local library to find a club that matches your interests. Whether you’re searching for a new bestseller, want to revisit an old favorite, or connect with other readers, these online resources can help:

What Should I Read Next? – Type in one of your favorite titles, and this site searches a huge database of reader favorites to help you decide what to read next.

Goodreads – Use this site to track and rate what you’ve read. Share your favorites with friends or use their suggestions to build your next reading list. This site is also helpful for following books in a series.

BookPage – Distributed free in print at your library, the online edition also offers great author interviews, features, and book reviews for readers of all ages. 

So, go ahead. Get lost in a book. Explore your inner detective or discover your true pirate self. Make reading your next healthy habit.

Posted: April 28, 2016
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