It’s one of life’s simple pleasures – settling down in a comfy chair with a cup of tea and a good book. Within seconds of opening a page-turner, you’ll be completely engrossed and transported far away from your everyday life. But it’s not just escapism that a good book can offer.
There is a wealth of other benefits too. Here, we list our top 10 reasons why reading could become your new favourite pastime…
Top 10 benefits of reading
- It keeps your brain active: From science fiction, mystery, thriller and true crime, to romance, memoirs and self-help – there really is a genre to engage everyone. On a physiological level, reading can strengthen connections in the brain, aid concentration, and improve memory.
- It expands your knowledge: Reading can challenge you in many ways, it can improve your vocabulary, make you question certain things, encourage you to view things from a different perspective, open your mind and expand your thinking. Become a regular reader and you really can learn something new every day.
- It offers an escape: Escape the everyday by losing yourself in a good book. Immerse yourself completely in another world, another life, and forget your worries and hassles.
- It provides comfort: There is something incredibly comforting about re-reading a favourite book. Following familiar characters is almost like reconnecting with old friends. Even when the world around you changes, those characters are still there and still the same.
- You can take it anywhere: Pop a book in your bag and you can delve in anytime you have a spare 10 minutes – on the bus, waiting at the doctor’s surgery, at the hairdressers… you can literally take it anywhere and pick up where you left off. That said, you might not want to carry A la recherche du temps perdu (Remembrance of Things Past) by Marcel Proust in your bag. At 13 volumes long, it is the longest novel in the world!
- It is accessible: Some people love purchasing brand new hardback editions and there is no denying that some books can be expensive to buy. In fact, in 1994 Bill Gates spent a whopping $30,802,500 on The Codex of Leicester by Leonardo da Vinci – the most expensive book ever sold. But of course, you don’t need to spend a fortune to be a bookworm. Books can be picked up for next to nothing at charity shops. Or you could join a library and read as many books as you like, completely free of charge.
- It’s the hobby you can dip in and out of: Whilst some hobbies require a lot of commitment, the beauty of a book is that you can read for as little or as long as you like, making it an incredibly flexible pastime that you can enjoy no matter how busy your lifestyle is.
- It can aid a good night’s sleep: Studies have shown that reading before bed can aid a good night’s sleep. Sitting quietly with a book slowly relaxes the mind and body, therefore preparing you for better quality sleep.
- It can lower blood pressure and stress: Reading a book focuses your brain on one single task, therefore taking your mind off any worries, relaxing the body and helping to reduce blood pressure. A 2009 study by the University of Sussex found that reading for just six minutes can reduce stress by up to 68%.
- It can inspire you in so many ways: A good book has the power to affect the reader. It can spark ideas and encourage creativity. It could even inspire you to lead a better life and become a better person.
Top 10 bestselling books of all time
Want to throw yourself into a good book but feel a little overwhelmed by the sheer choice available? According to Business Insider, these are the top 10 bestselling books of all time. From fantasy and mystery, to children’s fiction and everything in between – there is something for everyone to enjoy.
As the saying goes, you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. So even if it’s not your usual go-to genre, why not pick one of the below completely at random? Afterall, it’s a bestseller for a reason…
- Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes
- A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
- The Fellowship of the Ring, J.R.R. Tolkien
- Le Petit Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, J.K. Rowling
- Scouting for Boys, Robert Baden-Powell
- And Then There Were None, Agatha Christie
- The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien
- Dream of the Red Chamber, Cáo Xuěqín
- The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis
Love books but finding it harder these days to read?
A common barrier to reading faced by those in later life is poor eyesight. If you’re struggling even with reading glasses, why not consider switching to e-books? Available to read on phones, tablets and computers, you can adjust the font size and screen contrast to suit your eyesight. Alternatively, an audio book could be another option, with plenty of pre-recorded titles instantly available.
It’s never too late to put pen to paper
They say there is a book within all of us and that we all have a tale to tell. Afterall, the oldest person to ever win a Booker prize was Margaret Atwood, author of The Testaments, who won the prize at the age of 79.
One of our homeowners at Bechwoood Park, Christine Marsh celebrated her first book launch recently, read more here. So, if you’ve ever thought about writing, go for it! You certainly shouldn’t let your age hold you back.
Come together over a good book at Brio
At Brio, our age-exclusive retirement communities have been thoughtfully designed to enable you to explore new interests and experiences – whether that’s reading books or writing your own. Our busy calendar of events and activities includes regular book clubs, and there is ample opportunity to meet with book-loving neighbours to discuss your latest must-read over a cuppa.
Want to hear more?
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