Summertime signals lazy days of relaxing. Time to sit under the shade of the big oak tree, splash in the pool, or lounge on the porch swing, and do my favorite thing…read.

Why read? To quote Joseph Addison:

“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.”

Research backs up his words. Consider these seven reasons to read this summer or any time.

  1. Reading strengthens the brain. As your reading ability matures, those networks also get stronger and more sophisticated. Readers are two and a half times less likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s later in life.
  1. Reading reduces stress. A study showed reading only 6 minutes a day reduces stress by 68%.
  1. Reading can aid in falling asleep. Doctors at the Mayo Clinic recommend reading as part of a regular sleep routine.
  1. Reading helps reduce depression. Reading fiction provides a temporary escape from your world into the experiences of the characters. And reading nonfiction self-help books can teach strategies to help manage symptoms.
  1. Reading fiction builds empathy by exposing us to life circumstances that are very different from our own. We experience the world as another gender, ethnicity, culture, sexuality, profession, or age in fiction. This can influence how we relate to others in the real world.
  1. Reading ignites imagination and stimulates the memory centers of your mind. That, in turn, helps you recall information and expands your vocabulary.
  1. Reading can lengthen life span. A twelve-year study of 3,635 adult participants showed those who read books survived around two years longer than those who didn’t read.

With those great reasons and the plethora of books available from libraries and online stores, why not grab a book and go read now? That’s what I’m going to do.