We now know that hobbies, like gardening and playing a musical instrument, can prevent cognitive decline. Well, it turns out that there’s another activity you can add to that list. According to one expert, reading even less than an hour each day is also beneficial for your gray matter.
Dr. Kristen Willeumier, author and neuroscientist, said that reading for just 15 minutes per day is enough to improve brain health. She also specified that it’s long-form reading that she’s talking about (not emails and texts). In other words, material that takes a significant time investment (even if broken into 15-minute increments) is best.
This is because long-form reading forces the brain to continue learning by filling it with characters and storylines or complicated concepts.
“[When] the brain learns, [it] forms these cognitive maps,” Willeumier said in an interview with mindbodygreen. “So, the more reading you’re doing as you age will still keep your brain sharp.”
Studies appear to back her up, showing that reading helps prevent cognitive decline over the course of one’s life.
Willeumier said that another way to increase brain activity is to learn how to speed-read or get through pages more quickly. However, she adds that while doing so is a great ability, you should still keep the 15 minutes or more time quota in mind to make sure that you’re reaping the benefits.
If you want to follow Willeumier’s advice, here are some new releases to check out.