When you’re having an I-don’t-care-about-being-healthy day, the type of day when all you want to do is pick up a half-dozen cupcakes from the local bakery “for a party” (they’re all for you) and then proceed to eat them in front of the TV, the last thing you want to see as you’re walking home is some chump in the gym sweating it out on an exercise bike, right? Wrong. The last thing you want to see is that chump on the exercise bike sweating it out whilst reading a book at the same time.
Why? Because that chump might be outliving you; in fact, that chump might outlive us all.
In a study published in Social Science & Medicine, researchers from Yale University School of Public Health noted an association between book reading and longevity. Meaning? It may not just be things like exercise and genetics and sleep and, you know, not slaying frosted baked goods, that help push your age-o-meter up on the scales. Rather, it may also mean trading in TV time for page-turning time. By looking at data on 3,635 people over the age of 50 who had previously answered survey questions regarding their reading habits, the researchers found that people who regularly read books have longer life expectancies than those who don’t.
In fact, those who self-reported that they read books up to three and a half hours a week (the time it takes to watch approximately nine and a half episodes of “Friends,” mind you) were overall 17 percent less likely to die over the next 12 years compared to those who didn’t read books at all. And those who read more than three and a half hours a week were 23 percent less likely to die during those following dozen years.
Even once researchers adjusted for the confounders of age, gender, race, education, the presence of diseases, self-rated health, wealth, marital status and depression, the difference found was still significant. According to their results, book readers, overall, live an average of nearly two years longer than those who don’t read at all.
Avni Bavishi, the Master’s student at Yale who headed up the research, wrote in an email that she was inspired to follow this line of research because she has “seen that people often read less as they age.” Interestingly, the question of what people were reading turned out to be just as important: the association between higher life expectancy and those who read newspapers or periodicals was still present, but not nearly as strong as those who stated that they spent those hours immersed in a book.
The researchers aren’t sure why picking up actual books instead of, say, Us Weekly could make a difference in life expectancy. Yet, they theorize in the study that reading books could lead to a “survival advantage” as reading a book is a slower, more immersive process in which a reader has to draw connections with the outside world. (Also, reading a little less about Kim K. seems like a survival advantage in itself.)
Furthermore, as stated in the study, “cognitive engagement may explain why vocabulary, reasoning, concentration and critical thinking skills are improved by exposure to books.” Books — particularly of the fiction variety — can also promote empathy and emotional intelligence, which can potentially, maybe, possibly lead to a longer life.
This is where we should hold up for a moment. Before you go dashing off to the bookstore or library — cupcake wrappers trailing behind you — remember that there are many factors here that could be at play. For instance, the researchers didn’t have any data on how long those surveyed had been reading books for. Conceivably, whether people have been reading books for their entire lives or for, you know, two months prior to taking the survey could potentially affect the data. (Not to mention *ahem* people’s sleep patterns.)
Now that that’s been said, go ahead and continue on your way out the door, because most of us can agree that books are freaking awesome, whether reading them might actually help you live longer or not.
As Bavishi wrote, “Reading doesn’t have to be a massive commitment, as any level of reading books could potentially extend your life. Reading a chapter every night of a novel is a great way to unwind and benefit your health.” Preach.
‘Rather than leading — he lies’: MSNBC panel says Trump is a ‘danger to the country’ because he can’t be trusted
MSNBC commentators, former assistant US Attorney Maya Wiley and Rick Wilson, explained that President Donald Trump's most significant barrier is making it past his own lies to save America from the coronavirus.
"There's a case tonight being tested in Walton County, Florida. The heart of Trump country," said Wilson, referring to the panhandle county east of Pensacola. "That's not going to be something you can just walk away from if it turns out to be a real case. We're seeing these things popping up all over. The safe bet was always to say, 'This could be bad. We'll do everything we can to stop it.' But he can't stop himself from self-aggrandizing and lying about things. And it's actually -- setting aside my normal criticism of Trump -- this is a danger to the country that he is not a trustworthy person for the American people. Even people who like him now he BS's them all the time. Now, if he says it's not a problem and people are being hospitalized, it is a problem."
Trump ‘just wants this problem to go away’: President desperate to get coronavirus ‘off his plate’
President Donald Trump is desperate for the coronavirus problem to go away, and he doesn't exactly care how it happens.
According to New York Times reporter Annie Karni, sources are telling her that the biggest concern Trump has is more about the markets than the deaths of Americans from the virus.
"First, let's establish, this is a president who tried to change science with a Sharpie when it came to hurricane path prediction," said MSNBC host Brian Williams. "That picture lasts forever."
"Even his allies on Fox and his allies outside the White House were kind of channeling to that proverbial audience of one that this was a great opportunity to look presidential and to tell the facts," said Karni. The Donald Trump we saw out there in the briefing room was very casual, kind of left the facts to the other people that accompanied him out there. But he clearly publicly and privately just wants this problem to go away. He wants to downplay it. He thinks -- he has called people who are talking about fears about it alarmist. He doesn't want to be alarmist, and he's kind of holding on to any comment that makes it sound like this will naturally be a problem that is removed from his plate. That's what we saw publicly, and that's what he's been saying privately as well."
Seth Meyers: You know Trump isn’t the chief law enforcement officer because he couldn’t pass the physical
"Late Night" host Seth Meyers warned that the United States is sliding into authoritarianism under President Donald Trump.
Sounding the alarm Wednesday evening, Meyers cited reports that Trump was making lists of disloyal people, purging them from their jobs, hiring unqualified cronies in top posts, and claiming he has the right to interfere in criminal cases.
While speaking to the press last week, Trump even announced that he's allowed to be involved in all criminal cases because he's the chief law enforcement officer of the United States. It's actually a title used for the attorney general.