Boost the brain with reading: neuroscientist shares tips for achieving a healthy cortex

Research has shown that the rate of brain decline can be reduced by up to 32 per cent in people who indulge in mental activities, such as reading, in later life.1 Reading can also reduce stress levels by 68 per cent, more than listening to music or going for a walk.2

With Queen Camilla’s book club study recently showing that five minutes of reading a day is as valuable to mental wellbeing as walking 10,000 steps and eating five portions of fruit and vegetables, it is clear that it should be a key part of our daily wellbeing.

Readly, the app that provides access to over 7,000 digital magazines and newspapers, found that two thirds of people read to keep their brains active and for relaxation. Reading magazines and newspapers has many benefits such as mental stimulation, lifelong learning, relaxation, plus knowledge and insight gathering.

Dr Rachel Taylor, Neuroscientist says “Reading not only boosts brain function but also leads to structural changes in the brain, enhancing its overall health and capacity. Reading can lead to the creation of more matter in the brain. The more matter there is, the healthier the brain, so reading stimulates the brain, slowing down cognitive decline”

Her tips for achieving a healthy cortex are: 

  1. Challenge yourself to read something completely different or out of your comfort zone - this means that you create more connections between neurons, a process called synaptogenesis. The more connections the brain makes then the more cognitive function we have. 
  2. Try short regular sessions - reading improves our focus, attention and concentration. Just 20-30 minutes per day has a significant impact on our ability to have productivity and efficiency. 
  3. Set time aside to read - Have a few set times during every day when you’ll read for at least 5-10 minutes. These are times that you will read no matter what.The key to developing a reading habit is consistency. Consistency is key to all health, wellbeing and cognitive nurturing activities!
  4. Always carry something interesting - Wherever you go, have something interesting to read to hand. Whenever you have a moment, whip it out and engage the brain. The Readly app is a convenient and insightful way to read around subjects that interest you, cultivate a good reading habit and stimulate the brain with plenty of new ones too. 
  5. Avoid endless scrolling -  Deep read a feature, an article or your regular magazine or book and avoid endless scrolling as the never-ending supply of new information and visuals can overwhelm our senses, leading to stress, anxiety, and exhaustion.

Whether you’re reading an in-depth feature with the latest science, tips from an expert or simply reading new recipes, Readly has a title for everyone. Readly gives access to over 7,000 magazines and newspapers to read via mobile, mobile or tablet device wherever you may be. And it isn’t just magazines, the app has puzzles and crosswords, plenty of back issues and podcasts too.

Readly is proud to support the National Pharmacy Association’s Your Health, Your Pharmacy campaign. Visit


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1Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation at The Rockefeller University

2 Lewis, D. (2009), Galaxy Stress Research. Mindlab International at Sussex University, UK

About Readly
Readly is the European category leader for digital magazines. The company offers a digital subscription service that gives customers unlimited access to 7,600 magazines and newspapers. Readly has subscribers in more than 50 countries and content available in 17 different languages. In collaboration with 1200 publishers worldwide, Readly is digitising the magazine and newspaper industry. In 2022, revenues amounted to SEK 592 million. Since September 2020, the Readly share is listed on Nasdaq First North Growth Market. For more information, please visit