Why is recreational reading important?

There are a myriad of benefits to reading recreationally. What can it do for your mental and physical health?

Column by Natalie Wertz


“Reading is important, because if you can read, you can learn anything about everything and everything about anything” – Tomie Depaola.

One thing I’ve learned in my 20 years of life is the importance of reading. In this day and age, specifically with my generation (Gen Z), we often find ourselves sucked into the portal of scrolling endlessly on our devices…or binge-watching our favorite shows on television. And I think that a lot of us are missing out on what books can really give us.

There are far too many negative associations with reading. People often associate books with homework and school, or they simply think it is boring and non-entertaining. And I have to disagree.

Reading is fun. Reading can take you to different places, travel in time, live vicariously through characters, and most importantly, learning.

There is a genre for everybody between fiction and nonfiction, and any kind of subgenre you could imagine: action and adventure, classics, comic books, graphic novels, detective and mystery, fantasy, historical fiction (and nonfiction), horror, and so many more.

The benefits to reading do not just end at pleasure an entertainment. There are many mental and physical benefits to reading. In an article titled, “Benefits of reading books: How it can positively affect your life” written by Rebecca Joy Stanborough and medically reviewed by “Heidi Moawad, M.D. from Healthline.com, explains findings of the benefits of reading on physical and mental health.

It was found that reading strengthens your brain, increases empathetical abilities, builds your vocabulary, assists in preventing age-related cognitive decline, reduce stress and alleviate depression symptoms, and even assisting in a better night’s sleep.

Nowadays, it has been found that staring at screens all day is not only bad for your eyesight, but for your brain function and sleeping habits as well.

Think about this next time you’re bored or find yourself scrolling for hours an pick up a book instead. Check your local libraries, bookstore, or even borrow a book from a friend and find your escape in the pages.

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