“One study, which scanned the brains of reading people, found that reading provides exercise to 17 different brain regions, and increased density, extent and speed of brain-cell networks within the brain — essential for maintaining mental efficiency and brain health throughout life.
Other studies suggest that, after finishing a good novel, readers enjoy these effects for several days.
Other research shows that reading brings on relaxation. Reading for just six minutes can lower stress levels by 68 per cent. In contrast, going for a walk reduced stress levels by 42 per cent. The type of story doesn’t seem to matter, if it engrosses the reader.
A number of other studies indicate reading Literature — with a capital L — increases an individual’s social competency. Literature comprises compelling, believable plots and well-developed, complex characters whose feelings and motivations are only vaguely sketched.
It requires readers to put themselves in characters’ shoes, infer motivations and tune into emotional nuance and complexity — the same social-functioning tasks that are required when dealing with real (complex) people in (messy) daily life. Reading literary stories increases readers’ empathy, social perception, mental inference and emotional intelligence.
Other studies suggest that frequently reading literary fiction from a young age hones those social skills.”