Reading as Part of a Healthy Lifestyle

Reading is fun and it can also impact your wellbeing

Reading plays an integral role in a healthy, well-rounded lifestyle. While other behaviors may have stronger effects⁠ on your mind and body — such as diet, exercise, and work-life balance⁠ — reading has the extra appeal of being free! When you acquire a library card, you gain access to an endless supply of books, each of which has the potential to enhance your life in a multitude of ways. As you indulge in a dedicated reading habit, you may experience better sleep, reduced stress, and other healthful benefits.

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Enhancing Empathy

Researchers have found that literary fiction may temporarily enhance Theory of Mind — another term for empathy. The control group that read literary fiction, as opposed to non-fiction or popular fiction, scored higher on Theory of Mind tests.

Helping Prevent Cognitive Issues

To support good cognitive health as we grow older, the National Institute on Aging recommends keeping the mind active as much as possible. This can include reading books and magazines, but also extends to participation in activities like theater, music, dance, or creative writing.

Reducing Stress

One study set out to explore the effects of reading, yoga, and humor on the stress levels of college students. Health science students were either given a 30-minute yoga session, a popular comedic video, or readings from Newsweek and online publications. The researchers found that reading had the same positive effects as yoga or humor regarding stress indicators (blood pressure, heart rate, and Daily Stress Inventory).

Free Entertainment

Even when you purchase a book at full price, you receive much more entertainment value for your dollar. A $12 paperback book may provide five or more hours of amusement, while a $12 movie ticket will only keep you entertained for about two hours.

A Better Night’s Sleep

Positive Programs at the Library

Book Clubs


Language classes and conversation practice are common sights at libraries. This allows learners to converse and gain practical experience with their new language. If there aren’t any current events for the language you are learning, contact the library to express interest in forming a new group!

Additional educational programming may include dance classes, cooking demos, or fitness groups, all of which contribute to a healthy lifestyle.

Community Events

These events may include gardening classes, board game nights, poetry slams, and more. Attending library-sponsored events is an excellent way to connect with like-minded people and participate in your local community. If they don’t have events that relate to your interests, library staff may even allow users to host gatherings on their property.


And best of all, with the help of your local library, the benefits of reading are available to anyone, free of charge.