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Reading is good for your health

Geraldine Timlin

Buncrana Medical Centre joins the Free Wee Library Project

Dr Ciara Steele, Buncrana Medical Centre (left) and Geraldine Timlin, Free Wee Library Project (24/10/2014)

Dr Ciara Steele and GPs at the Buncrana Medical Centre became the latest group to purchase a Free Wee Library for their practice. The library was sited in the Centre in late October and has been a great addition to the practice, with both staff and patients enjoying the chance to read and share books. 

It has been widely researched and documented that reading is good for your health, particularly for our mental health. Scientists say that deep reading is good for you as it helps neurons and cells connect and remain functional whilst also reducing stress. Immersing yourself in a book, 'deep reading' can have real medical benefits. It is like exercise for your brain. When you read there are multiple areas, cells and circuits in the brain that get activated. Reading creates images in our minds and activates comprehension and speech areas of our brain, all helping our brain to remain functioning healthily.

New MRI scanning techniques now enable science to prove this. An American brain-imaging study showed that when we read and imagine the landscapes, sounds, smells and tastes described on the page, the various areas of the brain that are used to process these experiences in real life are activated, creating new neural pathways. 

In other words, our brains simulate real experiences, just as if we were living them ourselves. This doesn’t happen when we’re watching TV or playing a computer game.

Getting stuck into a good novel appears to be beneficial to our mental health. As the old saying goes: ‘You’re never alone with a book.’ Reading not only staves off feelings of loneliness, it helps us to wind down, de-stress and forget our own problems for a while.

Recent research suggests that regular reading (2-3 times per week) is associated with a 35% reduction in the risk of Dementia and it can help reduce our stress levels by 68% . Whilst taking part in a social reading activity like reading groups can help people feel less isolated. 

Couple this with outdoor exercise, walking to any of our Free Wee Libraries to pick up a book and you are on to a winning combination - promoting your own positive well being.

Get lost in a good book today :-)

Some books leave us free and some books make us free.

–Ralph Waldo Emerson


For further info on Reading for your Health:

If you are interested in finding out about a Free Wee Library for your business/community -contact :