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Meridian Qigong

Book up for a longer life: readers die later, study finds

Survey of more than 3,500 people finds that reading books – markedly more than periodicals – appears to deliver a noticeable ‘survival advantage’

Anti-ageing activity … a group of older readers. Photograph: Alamy

 

Flaubert had it that “the one way of tolerating existence is to lose oneself in literature as in a perpetual orgy”. It turns out that reading doesn’t only help us to tolerate existence, but actually prolongs it, after a new study found that people who read books for 30 minutes a day lived longer than those who didn’t read at all.

The study, which is published in the September issue of the journal Social Science & Medicine, looked at the reading patterns of 3,635 people who were 50 or older. On average, book readers were found to live for almost two years longer than non-readers.

Respondents were separated into those who read for 3.5 hours or more a week, those who read for up to 3.5 hours a week, and those who didn’t read at all, controlling for factors such as gender, race and education. The researchers discovered that up to 12 years on, those who read for more than 3.5 hours a week were 23% less likely to die, while those who read for up to 3.5 hours a week were 17% less likely to die.

Overall, during follow-up, 33% of non-book readers died, compared to 27% of book readers, write the academics Avni Bavishi, Martin Slade and Becca Levy from the Yale University School of Public Health, in their paper A Chapter a Day: Association of Book Reading With Longevity.

“When readers were compared to non-readers at 80% mortality (the time it takes 20% of a group to die), non-book readers lived 85 months (7.08 years), whereas book readers lived 108 months (9.00 years) after baseline,” write the researchers. “Thus, reading books provided a 23-month survival advantage.”

Bavishi said that the more that respondents read, the longer they lived, but that “as little as 30 minutes a day was still beneficial in terms of survival”.

The paper also specifically links the reading of books, rather than periodicals, to a longer life. “We found that reading books provided a greater benefit than reading newspapers or magazines. We uncovered that this effect is likely because books engage the reader’s mind more – providing more cognitive benefit, and therefore increasing the lifespan,” Bavishi said.

…efforts to redirect leisure time into reading books could prove to be beneficial in terms of survival…

A quote from the study

In the paper, the academics write that there are two cognitive processes involved in reading books that could create a “survival advantage”. First, reading books promote the “slow, immersive process” of “deep reading”, a cognitive engagement that “occurs as the reader draws connections to other parts of the material, finds applications to the outside world, and asks questions about the content presented”.

“Cognitive engagement may explain why vocabulary, reasoning, concentration, and critical thinking skills are improved by exposure to books,” they write. Second, books “can promote empathy, social perception, and emotional intelligence, which are cognitive processes that can lead to greater survival”, they say.

“We had seen some mixed effects in previous literature that seemed to indicate that there may be a survival advantage to general reading; however, we were impressed with the magnitude of the difference of effect between reading books and reading newspapers/magazines,” said Bavishi.

Although respondents to the survey did not specify the genre of the books they were reading, the paper says it is likely that most of the people they surveyed were reading fiction, pointing to a survey from the National Endowment for the Arts in 2009 that found that 87% of book readers choose fiction. They suggest that future analysis could look at “whether there are additional health benefits from book reading, other than extended survival; whether there are similar effects reading ebooks and audiobooks, which may be more likely to be read in a non-sedentary manner; and whether nonfiction vs fiction, as well as various genres, have different effects”.

The academics point to previous research which found that people over 65 spend an average of 4.4 hours a day watching television, and say that “efforts to redirect leisure time into reading books could prove to be beneficial in terms of survival for this population”. The researchers also point out that their study participants spent “considerably” more time reading periodicals than books – on average, 3.92 hours for books and 6.10 hours for periodicals – and suggest they switch to books, because “the survival advantage is significantly stronger for book reading”.

They conclude that “the benefits of reading books include a longer life in which to read them … The robustness of our findings suggests that reading books may not only introduce some interesting ideas and characters, it may also give more years of reading.”

(https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/aug/08/book-up-for-a-longer-life-readers-die-later-study-finds)

 

Reading daily predicts reduced mortality among men from a cohort of community-dwelling 70-year-olds

 

J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2008 Mar;63(2):S73-80.

Jacobs JM1, Hammerman-Rozenberg R, Cohen A, Stessman J.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:
Although
social and physical components of leisure activity have proven
beneficial to successful aging, the influence of solitary and
nonstrenuous activity on subsequent aging is unclear. This study
examined reading activity to investigate the
Source: Meridian Qigong

A chapter a day: Association of book reading with longevity

Avni Bavishi, Martin D. Slade, Becca R. Levy, Yale
University School of Public Health, Laboratory of Epidemiology and
Public Health, 60 College Street, New Haven, CT 06510, USA
Received 20 October 2015, Revised 11 July 2016, Accepted 15 July 2016, Available online 18 July 2016

Abstract

Although
books can expose people to new people and places, whether books also
have health benefits
Source: Meridian Qigong

Zen meditation, Length of Telomeres, and the Role of Experiential Avoidance and Compassion

Mindfulness (N Y). 2016;7:651-659. Epub 2016 Feb 22.

Alda M1, Puebla-Guedea M2, Rodero B3, Demarzo M4, Montero-Marin J2, Roca M5, Garcia-Campayo J6.

Author information

Abstract

Mindfulness
refers to an awareness that emerges by intentionally focusing on the
present experience
Source: Meridian Qigong

Zen meditation, Length of Telomeres, and the Role of Experiential Avoidance and Compassion

Mindfulness (N Y). 2016;7:651-659. Epub 2016 Feb 22.

Alda M1, Puebla-Guedea M2, Rodero B3, Demarzo M4, Montero-Marin J2, Roca M5, Garcia-Campayo J6.

Author information

Abstract

Mindfulness
refers to an awareness that emerges by intentionally focusing on the
present experience
Source: Meridian Qigong

Randomized, controlled trial of qigong for treatment of prehypertension and mild essential hypertension.

Altern Ther Health Med. 2014 Jul-Aug;20(4):21-30.
Park JE, Hong S, Lee M, Park T, Kang K, Jung H, Shin KM, Liu Y, Shin M, Choi SM.

 

Abstract

CONTEXT:
Hypertension
treatments include sodium restriction, pharmacological management, and
lifestyle modifications. Although many cases of hypertension can be
controlled by medication, individuals may experience side effects or
incur
Source: Meridian Qigong

Effect of a qigong intervention program on telomerase activity and psychological stress in abused Chinese women: a randomized, wait-list controlled trial.

 

BMC Complement Altern Med. 2014 Aug 15;14:300. doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-14-300.

Tiwari A1, Chan CL, Ho RT, Tsao GS, Deng W, Hong AW, Fong DY, Fung HY, Pang EP, Cheung DS, Ma JL.

Author information

 

Abstract

BACKGROUND:
Abused
women, who suffer from chronic psychological stress, have been shown to
have shorter telomeres than never abused women. Telomere shortening is
associated
Source: Meridian Qigong

Effect of a qigong intervention program on telomerase activity and psychological stress in abused Chinese women: a randomized, wait-list controlled trial.

 

BMC Complement Altern Med. 2014 Aug 15;14:300. doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-14-300.

Tiwari A1, Chan CL, Ho RT, Tsao GS, Deng W, Hong AW, Fong DY, Fung HY, Pang EP, Cheung DS, Ma JL.

Author information

 

Abstract

BACKGROUND:
Abused
women, who suffer from chronic psychological stress, have been shown to
have shorter telomeres than never abused women. Telomere shortening is
associated
Source: Meridian Qigong

Nontouch biofield therapy: a systematic review of human randomized controlled trials reporting use of only nonphysical contact treatment.

J Altern Complement Med. 2014 Dec;20(12):881-92. doi: 10.1089/acm.2014.0017.

Hammerschlag R1, Marx BL, Aickin M.

Author information

 

Abstract

OBJECTIVE
AND CONTEXT: This review was designed to assess the quality and review
the outcomes of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of biofield
therapies (external qigong, Healing Touch, Johrei, Reiki, and
Therapeutic Touch) that report
Source: Meridian Qigong

Qigong for hypertension: a systematic review.

Medicine (Baltimore). 2015 Jan;94(1):e352. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000000352.

Xiong X1, Wang P, Li X, Zhang Y.

Author information

 

Abstract

The purpose of this review was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of qigong
for hypertension.A systematic literature search was performed in 7
databases from their respective inceptions until April 2014, including
the Cochrane Library, EMBASE,
Source: Meridian Qigong

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