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Read! Exercise for Your Brain

Updated: May 4, 2022

Most people have an innate desire to learn, and language is the primary tool for learning. Reading is an important mechanism for the delivery of information to the brain to be solidified as acquired knowledge.

Read! Exercise for Your Brain

Reading is critical for your own personal and cultural development because it relates to so many factors in your life. The benefits are broad and significant.

First, the mental stimulation of reading is vital for brain health. It is quite literally exercised for the brain. Synapses fire, neurotransmitters are released, and hormones begin circulating. Reading material that evokes an emotional response actually stimulates the brain to produce hormones specific to the physical expression of those feelings.

Next, memory is improved by reading. When you read a novel, for it to make sense, you must remember different characters and plot elements. Keeping all of these things in play has your short-term memory working hard. This also requires, and so with repetition improves, the focus and concentration you need to follow the action through the course of the story.

And don’t forget that the escapism offered by novels can also be an excellent stress management tool.

Analytical skills are also engaged through reading. Stimulating novels keep you involved - trying to figure out where the story is going. Technical books, however, require that you reason out how all the different pieces of information come together as a concept, procedure, or system.

Reading also improves writing ability as vocabulary and variations in sentence structure are introduced or reinforced.

The bottom line is that reading to learn something new is better for your brain than simply reading for entertainment. Still, even an entertaining novel offers the mental stimulation you wouldn't find passively watching TV or streaming media.

Contributor: Dr. Michael Trayford is a Board-Certified Chiropractic Neurologist and Founder of APEX Brain Centers in Asheville, NC. For more information, please visit

The opinions expressed by contributing authors are not necessarily the opinions of the Dementia Society, Inc. We do not endorse nor guarantee products, comments, suggestions, links, or other forms of the content contained within blog posts that have been provided to us with permission, or otherwise. Dementia Society does not provide medical advice. Please consult your doctor.

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