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Reading Glasses and BookWe know a good book can pass the time, make us smile, and even teach us something new about the world - but did you know that reading has health benefits? Reading reduces stress, can improve moods, and improves cognitive ability.

According a study from the University of Sussex, reading for only six minutes can reduce your stress levels by 68% (2009). The reduction of stress produces a slower heart rate, lower blood pressure, and less muscle tension. Feeling less stress is one of the reasons that so many people report that reading improves their mood. One survey (sponsored by the National Year of Reading) found that 86% of participants said that reading made them feel better.Reading can be an opportunity for escape from daily troubles and can also be inspiring. For example, reading may offer examples of people who have overcome difficulties or of people who have found success or happiness through perseverance and hard work. These examples can motivate us and provide the beginning of a blueprint for how we deal with our own lives.

The act of reading is complex - asking the brain to interpret symbols, compile meaning, and imagine a story. This complexity is beneficial for the physical health of the brain, helping to slow cognitive decline and to preserve memory. In fact, a study published in Neurology (2013) claimed that people in their late 70s and 80s were able to slow down their rate of cognitive decline by about 32% by having a hobby that stimulated the brain, such as reading. Learning new things creates actual changes in the brain, producing synaptic connections between brain cells. As we learn - for example, by reading about something new - the connections between our brain cells strengthen.

Rather than just turning on the television, try picking up a book or a magazine. Read for just 10 minutes a day, and you may find that you are less stressed. Try a variety of genres (history, mystery, fiction, non-fiction) and see if you can find a book that takes you on a wonderful journey, cover to cover.

Help manage the cost of healthcare with a health insurance plan. Call TCU Insurance at (800) 772-8043 for more information on all your Mishawaka health insurance needs.
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