Do you know that feeling you get when you finish a good workout? You’re sweaty, stretched out, and all those dopamine receptors in your brain are firing off like crazy? Well, I finally get to feel the same thing. According to Time Magazine, reading functions as a “vigorous exercise” for the brain. So that means that by reading, I get to work out. Guess who isn’t going to the gym this week?

According to psychologists Raymond Mar and colleagues, in a 2009 study of how reading correlates with empathy, reading fiction is correlated with higher levels of empathy and openness to new ideas. Reading nonfiction is actually not correlated with higher levels of empathy. They theorize that reading fiction activates different areas of the brain, enabling people to see themselves in other’s shoes.

According again to The Times, reading complex and detailed material requires the brain to simulate different circumstances by drawing on the parts of the brain that would be used in similar situations in reality.

So, in summary, using your brain to read a book is like a full work-out, but with only a fraction of the sweat and without the need to throw on your favorite gym shorts or yoga pants. Don’t have time to read a book? Well then, pick up a copy of HFR, and read a few short stories. It’s a lot less work than a work-out. (hardeharhar)

- Philip LaMaster