Is Reading Good For You?

I love to read. I met my book goal in Goodreads for 2020. I’ve always loved reading and will continue to do so. Rupaul says it best, “Reading is Fundamental!”

But is reading good for you? I ask because my neck was hurting like crazy over the weekend, and I had a headache for a couple of days. As these things can be symptoms of stress, I just figured that was the cause.

As I dealt with the pain, I began to think maybe the act of reading can be bad for you; I had done a lot of reading since I was off work. Think about it. Our parents and doctors tell us to sit-up and stand-up straight, to maintain a good posture. A sports therapist I used to know would get on all of us to keep our neck a certain way when sitting. The thing is, the act of holding a book and also having good posture seem a bit incompatible.

Usually when most of us are sitting, admit it, we slouch. Then while reading, whether on our devices or holding reading material in our hands, we bend our neck and look down. Usually our device or reading material is somewhere near our laps. Reading and good posture may not be compatible.

If we are to maintain good posture, meaning back at the correct angle, sitting all the way back in our chair or on our couch, no slouching, how should we hold our device. To keep our back where it belongs, and our neck not bent at an angle, it would mean we would have to hold our device/book up to eye level when looking straight ahead. In doing so, we would definitely be getting an arm and shoulder workout. In reality though, who among us regular people can, or would, hold a book with arms up, elbows at a 45-degree angle, for more than two-minutes (if we are lucky), to read.

How can we have it both ways? Sit correctly keeping our body healthy, and read to keep our minds healthy. Is it even possible without having buff arms or a reading stand to hold our device/book at the correct level and angle? Were the churches and clergy of the past really helping out the common folk by making us stand for services and not wanting us to learn to read? Did they have foresight to see how bad it might be for our bodily temples if we started reading?

We all know that isn’t true since they didn’t want us to read out of fear we would begin to interpret and question what they were telling us for centuries (which is what happened). Reading is good for us.

Reading opens doors of thought, of knowledge, and of escape, sometimes all at the same time. Reading may also have an adverse effect on our bodies, but we can mitigate those effects. I’m really bad at slouching when relaxing on the couch and when reading. But, I also try to place my book on a pillow, or in some way have the device/book raised to keep to a reasonable level.

In the end, reading is fundamental and always will be. I’m going to keep devouring books and hope you do as well.

See you at the bookstore!

P.S.-Support your local independent bookstore. If you don’t have one, use bookshop.org. Part of their proceeds help support local independent shops.

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