Does Reading A Book Exercise Your Mind?

Does Reading A Book Exercise Your Mind? – Blog by Naz Ahmed

Browzly Blog
Browzly Blog

Reading is the ultimate workout for the brain.

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

Here we talk about four reasons why you should read more:

1. Reading Reduces Stress

A 2009 study at the University of Sussex found that reading for only 6 minutes can reduce stress levels by up to 68% [1].As reading is an essential part of many jobs and degrees, it is easy to forget the joys of reading a good book for fun. Yet starting a book which has no direct ties to our daily routines can help you forget your own worries, by absorbing yourself in the worries and story of the plot; stimulating physical benefits including a reduced heart rate and less muscular tension.

2. Reading Improves your Memory

When reading a book, you need to remember the characters, their stories, ambitions, history, and idiosyncrasies, as well as various sub-plots incorporated in the twist of the story. That’s a lot to keep in your head, but brains are amazing organs; capable of storing huge volumes of information. Each time you make a new memory, new synapses are formed, or old ones are strengthened; improving your short-term memory and stabilizing your mood. Not bad.

3. Reading Expands your Vocabulary

The more books you read, the more words you will know. If English (or any other language) is not your native language, reading a book – in that language – will help you learn new words, by using the context of what you’re reading to make inferences when stumbling across a word or two you don’t know. Indeed, a study found that the vocabulary knowledge of fourth-, Fifth and sixth-grade children significantly improved with the larger number of novels consumed [2]. Not only did the children’s vocabulary improve, but also their general knowledge, spelling, and verbal fluency.

Reading only helps children learn new words? Think again. Articulate people perform better in the workplace because they can speak to their superiors with confidence.
As an articulate person, you’re more likely to be considered for a promotion, because those with a large vocabulary and volumes of general knowledge stored in their brains can hold conversations with people from all walks of life, sharing the latest facts and figures in literature, scientific breakthroughs, and global events.

4. Reading Improves your Focus and Concentration

One of the major contributors to having a poor memory is a lack of concentration when learning information in the first place. At work in a typical five minutes, a person divides their time between work tasks, checking emails, talking online (chat, Skype, etc.), monitoring the phone and talking with colleagues or a student will be half listening to an online lecture while leafing through notes, checking WhatsApp and talking to their neighbour. Sound familiar? Gone are the days where study or work was without distraction; today we’re simply bombarded. This type of overstimulation increases stress and lowers our productivity. Indeed, research by psychologist Dr. Glenn Wilson found workers who were distracted by phone calls and emails experienced a 10% drop in their IQ [3].

When you read a novel, all of your attention is concentrated on the story – the rest of the story falters into the background and you can immerse yourself in the plot. Try reading for 15-20 minutes during your early morning commute, and you’ll be surprised how much better your attention span gets while studying, at the workplace or spending time on tasks.

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 is 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.

Are you a physical book or e-book person?

Both have their benefits but they do not affect 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 how heavy the page is, sense of location when reading left to right, and spatial landmarks that give 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.
Evidence from laboratory experiments, polls, and consumer reports indicate that modern screens and e-readers fail to adequately recreate certain tactile experiences of reading on paper that many people miss and, more importantly, prevent people from navigating long texts in an intuitive and satisfying way. In turn, such navigational difficulties may subtly inhibit reading comprehension. Compared with paper, screens may also drain more of our mental resources while we are reading and make it a little harder to remember what we read when we are done.

How does our mind perceive ebooks v Paper Books?

  • A parallel line of research focuses on people’s attitudes toward different kinds of media. Whether they realize it or not, many people approach computers and tablets with a state of mind less conducive to learning than the one they bring to paper.

• Physical material is more “real” to the brain. It has a meaning and a place. It is better connected to memory because it engages with its spatial memory networks.
• Physical material involves more emotional processing, which is important for memory and brand associations.
• Physical materials produced more brain responses connected with internal feelings, suggesting greater “internalization” of the ads.

If you imagine millennials are just young people entranced by their cell phones or tablet computers, you might want to think again. According to a new study, 92% of college students would rather do their reading the old-fashioned way, with pages and not pixels.
The finding comes from American University linguistics professor Naomi S. Baron, author of the book “Words Onscreen: The Fate of Reading in a Digital World.” Baron led a team that asked 300 college students in the United States, Slovakia, Japan and Germany how they preferred to read
Physical books were the choice of 92% of the respondents, who selected paper over an array of electronic devices.

The main reasons students preferred paper books, Baron told the New Republic, were the lack of distractions that are available on computers, as well as the headaches and eye strain that can result from staring at a screen.
“When I asked what they don’t like about reading on a screen — they like to know how far they’ve gone in the book,” Baron said. “You can read at the bottom of the screen what percent you’ve finished, but it’s a totally different feel to know you’ve read an inch worth and you have another inch and a half to go.”
And then there are the aspects of the reading experience that computers just can’t replicate (yet) — Slovakian students, in particular, noted that they liked the smell of books.
It’s not just college students who’d rather spend their time with a book instead of an e-reader. In 2015, e-book sales dropped in the United States, and it’s the same story in the United Kingdom.

 

Contributed By- Naz Ahmed FCCA UAECA DMS
Naz is the Managing Director at Goldshaw Consultants and a mother to a lovely 10-year-old daughter. Naz can be reached on naz@goldshaw.com.

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