When was the last time you sat down and read a book from start to finish? Does your daily reading center around Facebook updates or the back of a cereal box? If you haven’t picked up a good book in a while you should! I just recently started reading again for fun and to my surprise there are quite a few benefits to daily reading.

1. Mental Stimulation

Just like we have to exercise the body, we also have to exercise the brain. Reading helps to keep the brain stimulated which can slow the progress of Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Doing puzzles and playing games like chess can be just as helpful as reading.

2. Relieve Stress

Reading is a huge stress reliever. A well-written book can sweep you away into another realm, which will allow your tensions to slip away so you can finally relax.

3. Gain Knowledge

Everything you read fills your head up with more knowledge. You never know what you might come in handy. The more you read the more knowledge you will have to tackle future challenges. The best part is no one can ever take knowledge away from you!

4. Memory and mood

I recently finished the book Wicked, by Gregory Maguire, and there was a lot to remember! Each chapter had new characters, towns, and events to follow. Reading will help improve your memory and every new memory you create forges new brain pathways, which strengthens existing ones. This will help assist your short-term memory and stabilize your mood.

5. Stay Focused

Every day we are pulled in a million different directions. The Internet certainly doesn’t help. I find myself working on schoolwork, checking my email, updating my Facebook, and listening to music all at the same time, while getting distracted by ads in my internet browser. Reading can help improve your focus and concentration. When you read a book, all of your attention is focused on what you are reading. Try reading for 15-20 minutes before work and see if you feel more focused throughout the day.

6. Writing

Having more exposure to well written books can improve your writing skills as well. In the same way we learn by watching others we can learn from reading a good book.

7. Free and Fun!

It’s free! Visit your local library or thrift store to find some good books to read. Libraries rotate their stock so you won’t run out of books to read. There are also many sites that will let you download free e-books. So there isn’t any reason not to start reading for fun!

Here are a couple of great websites to download free e-books: