Top 4 Health Benefits of Reading For Seniors

April 17, 2023


Everyone knows that exercising helps to strengthen your body, but did you know there are mental exercises to help strengthen your brain? One of the best things you can do for your mind as you grow older is to read. Many scientific studies have found numerous health benefits of reading. Some of the top benefits of reading include better sleep, sharpened decision-making skills, reduced stress and anxiety, improved memory, and even delayed onset of Alzheimer's and dementia.

While physical aging is inevitable, reading can help preserve the functionality of your brain, allowing you to live independently for longer. Let's dive into the top four benefits of reading for seniors.

1. Delay The Onset Of Dementia and Alzheimer's

A study found that seniors in their 70s who engage in activities such as reading are less likely to develop Alzheimer's and Dementia than those who do not. Brain-exercising activities help build a reserve of neuronal connections, which slows down the Alzheimer's process. The more frequently you engage in mental activities, including reading, the better your brain will work to preserve itself as you grow older. 

2. Reduce Stress and Anxiety

One of the top benefits of reading is that it can significantly reduce stress and anxiety. As you age, there may be life events and factors that can create stress and anxiety, such as medical conditions. According to research found at the University of Sussex, participants who were given a book to read began to relax within six minutes, and their heart rates and tension in their muscles showed signs of decreasing. This means reading for even just a few minutes, can greatly improve the quality of your life.

3. Promote Better Sleep

As you get older, it becomes harder to fall asleep and get a good night's rest. Due to natural changes in the body's ability to produce hormones related to sleeping, such as melatonin and cortisol, seniors often experience sleep disturbances.

However, another great benefit of reading is that it has long been considered an effective way to fall asleep. The Mayo Clinic states that by creating a bedtime ritual of reading before sleeping, your brain will signal your body that it's time to fall asleep. The next time you're struggling to sleep, perhaps reach for your favorite book, instead of grabbing the TV remote or your phone.

4. Increase Memory Retention

A recent study by Neurology found that people who engaged in mentally stimulating activities had better memory retention. In fact, practicing frequent cognitive activity as you age can reduce the rate of memory decline by 32%. 

Reading is one of the best exercises you can do to help preserve the lifespan of your memory skills. Why? Because reading greatly improves your brain's neurological connections. This helps your mind become more receptive to learning and memory retention.

Moorings Park Communities provides world-class, integrated wellness and healthcare to our residents in order to promote healthier and happier lives across all three of our campuses. For more information, visit our website or give us a call today at 239-317-8649.

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