Does Reading A Book Exercise Your Mind?
Reading is the ultimate workout for the brain.
Because learning new things stimulates your mind.
Intelligence depends on one’s ability to learn
- Reading expands your vocabulary
- Reading improves your communication skills
- Reading develops your analytical skills
- Reading boosts your memory
- Reading makes it easier for you to focus
However, reading just for pleasure is not as beneficial as reading difficult texts that cause you to think and understand. (I know, I’m sorry for raining on your parade.)
Reading for pleasure does increase blood flow to certain parts of the brain but it does not give your brain a workout.
The same goes for Self Help Books. Though they might help you with a personal problems they will not stimulate your brain like one of the classics will.
Did you know that reading poetry boosts activity in the right side of the brain?
That’s the area where you can access “autobiographical memory” which makes it so you can evaluate your own experiences and compare it to what you just read.
If classical literature and poetry are not your thing, try Mystery novels. They’ve been known fire up your brain.
Did you know that while you read you can actually change the physical structure of the brain?
You can also become more empathetic. There are even instances where your brain will think you’ve actually experienced something that you only read about. (That might explain a few memories I thought were mine but no one else seems to remember them….Hmm.)
For those of you who prefer audio books don’t despair. Studies have shown that the act of listening to a story can light up your brain, activating both the language processing and experiential parts.
Do you want to really give your brain a workout?
Try learning a new language and reading text written in that language. I’ve always wanted to learn and understand Tagalog!
Are you a physical book or e-book person?
Both have their benefits but they do not effect the brain in the same way.
It takes 7 days for your brain to adapt to reading an e-book (if you don’t normally read that way). However they lack “spatial navigability” that physical books have.
What does that mean?
Our minds rely on location clues like the how heavy the page is, sense of location when reading left to right, and spacial landmarks that gives us clues as to where we are in a story (like how many pages are left in the book, etc..) So if you feel lost when reading an e-book your not alone. It’s actually a very common problem.
Do people give you a hard time when they catch you lost in a book?
Don’t pay any attention to them! When we get lost in a book it’s called “deep reading” and that allows us to feel what the characters in the story feel. This, in turn, makes us more empathetic to people in real life, becoming more aware and alert to the lives of others.
However, Reading is not the only way to exercise your mind.
Try the following to give you an overall healthy brain:
- Physical Activity
- Openness to New Experiences
- Be Curious and Creative
- Make Social Connections
- Try Meditation
- Play a few Brain-Training Games
- Get Enough Sleep
- Reduce Chronic Stress
If games are more your style try these on for size:
What to read more articles on the subject? Check out the following:
Monday @ 9am “19 Fiction and Romance Writing Contests for 2015“
- Do you actively try to exercise your brain?
- Do you believe a well exercised brain can prevent dementia or Alzheimer?
- Are there certain “brain games” you like to play?