Insightsthe blog of Porter Hills
Reading for the health of it!
Paige Hendrickson, RN
Nurse Care Manager at Porter Hills
Mayo Clinic Certified Wellness Coach
Watch the WZZM Senior Wellness Segment on this topic.
A comfortable chair, a well-aimed reading light… and a good book. Personally, this is an ideal way to spend time during a rainy Spring day. I have always loved to read, and I hope I always will. Had I maintained a reading journal, it would remind me of the places I’ve ‘visited’, things I’ve learned, characters known, and how events during my life were reflected in the books chosen. Alas, I haven’t kept a journal, but do appreciate the many ways my life has been enhanced with my reading “obsession.”
Because I love to read and spend a fair amount of time doing it – I have been accused of being antisocial in the middle of a really good book! I look for ways to justify my “habit” with scientific research. Good news, fellow readers; we are actually participating in a healthy lifestyle choice!
Study after study show the act of reading is beneficial in many ways: physically, socially, intellectually, and emotionally.
The act of reading is a natural stress reducer. While reading, we relax and our heart and our breathing rates decrease. Our mind also becomes distracted and we become less self-focused, diminishing worry.
Joining a book club, making frequent trips to the library, and borrowing books from friends and neighbors expand our social circles and increase contact with people who share similar interests. Discussion groups create a sense of belonging while expanding our ability to see other points of view. Readers who live alone also report less feelings of isolation than their non-reader peers.
We gain greater knowledge, vocabulary, concentration, and memory through reading. People who read find their writing skills enhanced, as well. Open a book and broaden your horizons: the options are limitless.
When we read and identify with the characters, we gain a sense of empathy and compassion. We can feel anger, joy, hostility, and peace. Characters and situations in books can also teach us how to (or, not to) react in certain circumstances. Have you ever read a comedy and laughed out loud? How did you feel after? What about a book that moved you to tears?
This winter I reread some favorite books. I started with Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. He wrote a futuristic view of the twenty fourth century in 1953. I marvel at his insight regarding technology. While a very different classic, Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women is my current book. What are some of your favorite books? What are you currently reading?
I encourage you to travel to unfamiliar places, meet new people, learn new things simply by reading a book. Happy reading.
Did you know Porter Hills has many different volunteer opportunities including Village Librarian?
The Village Library provides residents with the opportunity to find books that entertain and expand their knowledge. The volunteer librarian assists residents on their literary journey.
More than 250 Porter Hills volunteers spend nearly 15,000 hours each year engaged in helping others. Through dedicated service and companionship, these selfless volunteers greatly enrich the lives of our residents.