Monday, January 26, 2015

Reading Does a Body Good

From 78 degrees to 35 degrees
The first thing I noticed when I got off the plane was the sharp, cold air that filled my lungs. Yup. I was back in the Midwest. I was already missing the warm Orlando sun.

I had a good trip. Even though I was working, I did get to have a little fun. Plus, I watched the rocket take off from Cape Canaveral. Very cool! Every yin must have a yang, however. And to counterbalance the awesome time in Florida, I had to deal with a gnarly injury.

I will spare you the details and just say that I needed a bunch of stitches on the bottom of my foot. Luckily, the sight of blood doesn't affect me. Believe me, there was lots of it. Yeah, that made walking hard. So I needed to get crutches from the hotel. By the way, crutches suck.

So I'll be recuperating the next few days, working on a presentation I'm going to be giving to a bunch of middle school kids. I'll be talking about storytelling and why everyone should be reading fiction. I've already spent a little time doing some research, and I found some fascinating stuff about reading and its benefits.

Reading fiction:

- Stimulates the central sulcus of the brain - the region of the brain responsible for movement
visualization. Readers immersed in their books were able to experience movement and motion in the brain's motor cortex. This is especially useful for athletes.

- Stimulates the left temporal cortex, which in charge of language. It's obvious that people who read have much better language skills.

- Fiction readers had a much stronger "theory of mind" than non-readers. Reading fiction helped people develop better empathy. Readers are much better at seeing things through other peoples' point of view and reading/interpreting non-verbal cues.

- Reading brought test subjects to a much more relaxed state faster than listening to music or even walking. Blood pressure, heart rates, and muscle tension were measured, and readers not only were able to relax faster, but they slept better.

- Just 30 minutes of reading fiction a day = 68% reduction of stress

I wonder if reading fiction will help my stitched up laceration heal faster. Maybe I should go grab a book!

28 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sorry about your foot!
I've been on a reading frenzy lately. Good to know I'm stimulating my mind.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Yikes, Jay! Hang in there.

Taking time to read fiction always relaxes and de-stresses me, even if it's a fast-paced, suspenseful read. :)

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

OUch, Jay. Crutches do suck. Read your notes about reading outloud to my son. He's a teacher and football coach.

Sarah Foster said...

Sorry you got hurt! Hopefully your foot is doing better now.

I guess I really need to try to read more every day. Then maybe I wouldn't stress out so much...

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Ouch. I've cut my foot twice before. Feet bleed like hell.

Pat Hatt said...

Ouch to the foot, worst I ever did to my foot was put a nail through it, a few times haha Guess that is why I have little stress as I read and write away.

Pat Dilloway said...

Get better soon!

Loni Townsend said...

Yikes! Sounds like you stepped on something nasty. I hope you heal up quickly!

I've been reading a lot more lately, now that my son can walk on his own. It is therapeutic.

cleemckenzie said...

Ouch. That foot injury does not sound like fun. But the presentation does and I'm sure reading will help you heal very quickly. Good luck!

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

I believe you when you say that stress goes down when you read. I love the zen of reading. I'm sorry you got hobbled, but at least you're okay. And yes, crutches suck.

David P. King said...

I would love to see a rocket launch someday...

Foot ills is no good. Get to feeling better. Books are a great remedy. :)

Jay Noel said...

Alex: I NEED to get into a reading frenzy, apparently.

Madeline: Sometimes, if it's really gripping, I don't want to put it down and end up not getting much sleep.

Susan: Very cool! Thanks!

Sarah: You and me both.

Diane: Yes. I had no idea I was even bleeding. Stopped to look down, saw a bunch of blood, and of course I tracked blood ALL OVER the house.

Jay Noel said...

Pat: The thought of a nail impaling my foot makes me a little queasy. Not that having it sliced open is any better. And yeah, I had to get a tetanus shot.

PD: Thanks buddy!

Loni: Thanks. I find that I get too wrapped up in genre fiction. Literary fiction relaxes me more.

Lee: I'm pretty nervous about presenting to a bunch of middle schoolers.

Michael: Reading is a great way to tune out the rest of the world. My arms got a workout, at least.

David: Even from 50 miles away, it was cool!

Intangible Hearts said...

Reading is wonderful for those needing to heal and in your case heel. Get well soon.

DEZMOND said...

I should be superhealthy then since, due to my work, I read books for eight to ten hours a day LOL... and yet I'm not :)

Christine Rains said...

Even more reasons to read? Love it! :) Hope you feel better soon.

Cynthia said...

I hope your foot heals smoothly.....I love that reading fiction helps me de-stress. And when I'm really sucked into a book, I feel like I can escape into another world.

Southpaw HR Sinclair said...

Reading will make you foot heal fast - cause you wont' be walking on it! Reading distresses me too unless it's a highly emotional scene, then I can feel my heart pumping faster. Hey, do you think that counts as exercise?

Ainsley Shay said...

Wishing you a smooth road to recovery! Happy reading!

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Glad you had a good time! I need to remember the joy of reading. I've turned reading into part of the job, trying to read to wipe out my to-read list and be a writer supporter. But there is so much to pleasure reading. Thanks for the reminder!

Stephanie Faris said...

I love this! Now I have a better alternative to yoga and meditation!

Sheena-kay Graham said...

Go get that book Jay and recover. Reading has all kinds of positives. Nice of you to share a few.

Robin said...

I sometimes wonder if I should read at night before bed. As it is, I try to read some every day, but usually not before bed. It's something to think about...

Hope your foot heals soon!

Carol Kilgore said...

I hope your foot is better. Able to wear a shoe yet?
Good to know those facts about reading fiction.

Beth Ellyn Summer said...

oh man, feel better! reading makes EVERYTHING better :)

Mark Noce said...

Hope you feel better:) I also really hope all the heath benefits of books hold true, because it definitely wears out my eyes...but I've no intention of slowing down either:)

manju satywali said...

ώέ άŕέ ȡέĻħί ράςķέŕş άήȡ мόνέŕş ώέ όғғέŕ ħόмέ άήȡ όғғίςέ ģόόȡş мόνίήģ άήȡ ράςķίήģ şέŕνίςέş ίή άĻĻ όνέŕ ίήȡίά. ώέ ħάνέ мόνέŕ ţħάή 15 чέάŕ έxρέŕίέήςέ όғ ħόмέ άήȡ όғғίςέ ģόόȡş мόνίήģ άήȡ ράςķίήģ şέŕνίςέş. ώέ ħάνέ όùŕ όώή ţŕάήşρόŕţάţίόή νέħίςĻέ ғόŕ έάşч άήȡ şάғέ ŕέĻόςάţίόή. ίғ чόù ώάήţ ţό şħίғţ чόùŕ ħόмέ ғόŕм ȡέĻħί чόù ςάή νίşίţ όùŕ ώέвşίţέ вέĻόώ.
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