Want to live longer? Aside from living a healthy lifestyle and trying not to be a contender for the Darwin Awards (which recognises individuals who made very poor decisions and pretty much set themselves up for death), you can also try reading.
You read that right. A study by researchers of Yale University surveyed 3,635 participants over 50 years-old about their reading habits. They then split the data into three groups: non-readers; people who read less than three-and-a-half hours a week; and people who read more than three-and-a-half hours a week.
They followed up with the participants after 12 years and found that both groups of readers lived longer than those who didn’t read at all. Readers who read less than three-and-a-half hours a week lived at least 17 per cent longer, while readers who read over 3.5 hours a week had that number up at 23 per cent.
And it’s not because the non-readers lived under tougher circumstances. The study explained that the extended longevity applied to all readers regardless of “gender, wealth, education or health”.
These findings shouldn’t be all too surprising, though. After all, according to researchers at the University of Sussex, reading for just six minutes can help reduce stress levels by up to 68 per cent. Plus, researchers at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago also found that it can help prevent Alzheimer’s.
So go on and pick up a book.
A version of this story first appeared in CLEO.