Read now, don’t pile up for later. According to research, active reading makes us socially aware.

Do you pile up mountains of books at home with the promise of reading them “when you have time”? Yes, we have heard about the free time, and you probably did not think that we would ask you that but are you waiting to retire? Joke aside, it turns out that it is good to train your brain diligently at an earlier age. If possible, even with several books at the same time, as ridiculous as that may sound to some of you! Believe us, there are people who read fiction in the morning, browse the psychology books on an e-reader during the day and listen to audio classic novels in the evening. It is quite achievable to process several stories at once, especially if we know that this will help us read even more after 60 or in other words – to “skip” dementia, which has a bad habit of stealing some of our abilities.

When we read, we use many parts of our brain, vivid images as well as memory to follow the main storyline. Therefore, we can safely call reading “gymnastics for the brain.” Recent studies support this view that reading is a powerful form of brain training. Professor Keith Oatley, an expert in reading, compares reading to being in a simulated flight in a short period of time, much more and much faster than if you expect these events to happen in real life [1]. While reading is considered by some to be a solitary activity, it can actually make us more socially aware. For example, Dr. Oatley suggests that reading good books is very similar to simulators, as it allows us to imagine ourselves in some else’s shoes, to take other people’s points of view, to understand why some characters in books act in a certain way, and to consider what will happen if we do the same in our reality. In a sense, reading is a practice of everything that can happen in our lives.

Some studies [2] link readers to their developed ability to empathize, to interpret the mental states, feelings, and emotions of others. That is, those who read better interpret social cues in their environment and simply put, better understand others. And while the mass accepts readers as “book rats”, isolated in the corner, loners wearing glasses, in fact, this brain practice or brain training leads to better emotional processing of situations. This can be beneficial for children, teens, and with advancing age. In summary, reading in every phase of life leads to social intelligence.

Billionaire Warren Buffett says he spends up to 80 percent of his day reading. Lifelong reading, especially in old age can be one of the secrets to preserving mental abilities. Some research supports the idea that reading can help improve memory. In another study, for 6 years, researchers tested the memory and thinking ability of about 300 adults. Each year, participants answer questionnaires about their reading and writing habits from childhood to their current age [4]. After the deaths of participants (approximate age 89 years), researchers examined their brains for evidence of physical signs of dementia, which usually include lesions, plaques and nerve entanglements, brain abnormalities often associated with memory lapses. In those people who have been actively reading over the years, no brain lesions or entanglements were observed, as well as a decline in memory during the 6-year study. Reduces the typical decline in memory by more than 30% compared to other forms of mental activity. Those who read the most have the least physical signs of dementia (of course, this may be why they continue to read until later in life).

As we mentioned above, reading is a way to train you brain but to have success, it is. Good to start at an earlier age. Growing up in a household that has books can bring great benefits. A large-scale study conducted over 20 years found that people who grow up in a house rich in books are more likely to have higher education. This study found that children growing up in homes with many books have, on average, 3 years more education than children in homes without library, regardless of their parents’ education and occupation.

Of course, you don’t just have to have a lot of books, you must read them. An access to books leads to reading. Given the wide access to video games and technology, reading may not be a favorite activity for children as they age, but there are great benefits to reading and the being “lost” in book plots. It seems hard to believe but reading can be a great way to prevent Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia, and perhaps it is the reading of your younger children or grandchildren that can provide them with vital brain health over time.

That is why, in the home for adults of the Blocks type, reading clubs are organized in which the residents not only read their favorite classics but also have the opportunity to discuss and reflect on them in a group, which combines socialization and brain gymnastics.


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