The popular hobby that could increase your lifespan

Avid readers rejoice! According to a new study, reading books could extend your lifespan by up to two years and it’s found that the more you read, the better off you’ll be.

The results of the study were published in the journal of Social Science & Medicine, and reveal that book reading for as little as 30 minutes each day can increase your survival by up to 23 per cent.

There are other benefits to be had from reading a book too. Of the nearly 3,700 men and women who took part in the Health and Retirement Study — a representative sample of adults aged 50 years or older in the United States — those who read books were found to have a better ability to empathise than those who did not.

It goes to show that reading isn’t just a popular hobby.

In fact, even though e-readers had an improved level of popularity in recent years many readers are turning to the printed book with sales said to be increasing globally (there were 571 million units sold in the US alone in 2015, compared to the 559 million of 2014).

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But how did the researchers come to this conclusion?

The team asked participants to report on their reading habits and tracked those results over a 12-year period while also monitoring their survival rate. The adults who read books for up to 3.5 hours a week were said to be 1 per cent less likely to die over the 12 years, while those who spent more than 3.5 hours reading a week were 23 per cent less likely to die.

Overall, the adults who read books had at least two years more life in them than those who did not.

Other outcomes from this research found that book reading was most popular among females, and that reading magazines or newspapers also showed an increased survival rate over non-readers although not as effective as immersing yourself in a good book.

How often do you read books? What is your favourite book?