By Kirk Winter

Recent research done by Centre for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia and the American Librarians Association confirms something that many have believed for decades, that reading is actually good for you and that goodness can be quantified using health care measurement diagnostics.

The first thing we need to understand is how they defined reading. This study focused exclusively on reading for pleasure, and for at least 30 minutes a day.

The research showed quite clearly why you should read every day, and those who do not read for pleasure every day are missing out on significant benefits that include:

Mental Stimulation: Studies have shown that reading can slow or possibly prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s and dementia. Those who do puzzles and play board games also gain this benefit of cognitive stimulation.

Stress Reduction: The time you take to get lost in a good book is time to relax. Reading before bed has proven time and time again to aid in the onset of sleep, and unlike television or time spent on your phone before bed, reading does not unduly stimulate your brain.

Knowledge: The more knowledge you possess, the better equipped you will be to meet with life’s challenges. It aids in your employability and just might make you a bundle of money when Alex Trebek calls and offers you that coveted slot on Jeopardy!

Vocabulary Expansion: The more words you are exposed to the more end up in your vocabulary. Being articulate and comfortable with the English language lexicon will benefit you in any career.

Memory Improvement: Every new memory created by reading creates new brain synapses and strengthens existing ones. This assists with short-term memory and also stabilizes moods.

Stronger Analytical and Thinking Skills: Being able to discuss books, their pros and cons, their plot lines and being the first to figure out “who dunnit” helps with analytical and thinking skills.

Improved Focus and Concentration: When all your attention is focused on a book, the rest of the world is very far away. Studies have shown that employees who read for pleasure on the way to work are more ready to work upon arrival at their job site and more focused on tasks at hand.

Better Written Skills: The more we read, the more aware we become of various and better writing styles. We improve our own writing by learning to craft our prose after looking at the work of others.

Tranquility: Relaxation with a good book benefits people on many different levels. Studies have shown that reading spiritual texts can lower blood pressure, while self-help books can assist in mood disorders and mild cases of mental illness.

Free Entertainment: Literally for the small cost of a library card you gain access to collections of books that not even the wealthiest have the room to acquire and store. There is typically something for everyone at public libraries.

The study concluded that there are few other activities that cost so little and clearly benefit people so much as reading for pleasure. So, if you want to live long and prosper -- read.