Of all the things we hate to lose, memory is at the top of the list right next to youth.
Thankfully, science has shown that there are specific steps we can take in middle age and as we get older to keep our brain firing on as many cylinders as our age and health allow.
We’ve turned to Mayo Clinic, Harvard Medical School and Health magazine to come up with six great tips to strengthen your memory at any stage in life.
Memory Improvement Tip #1: Never Stop Learning
Harvard University says that those with a higher level of education tend to have stronger mental functions as they age.
“Experts think that advanced education may help keep memory strong by getting a person into the habit of being mentally active,” the school’s Healthbeat newsletter said.
Think of your brain like a muscle – it gets stronger the more you use it. There are certain activities that can benefit your brain’s functional elasticity. Here are a few of them:
- Join a book club
- Play chess
- Try your hand at bridge
- Write your life story
- Do crossword puzzles
- Learn an instrument
- Take community college courses
The goal is to keep your brain active through various exercises that challenge critical and creative thinking.
Memory Improvement Tip #2: Sleep
When you get a good night’s sleep, a lot happens to your brain. Of course, a lot of things happen to your brain when you don’t sleep well, too, but we want to focus on the positive side of rest.
According to Mayo Clinic, your mind uses sleep to “consolidate your memories so you can recall them down the road.”
Simply put, when you’re in a deep slumber, your brain makes sense of the day and organizes your memories for easier recall in the future.
Seven to nine hours of sleep is still the golden rule, Mayo Clinic says.
Memory Improvement Tip #3: Multitask….at the Gym
According to Health magazine, your brain cells get a nice little boost when you work your body and your mind at the same time.
Have a gym membership? Shut off that TV on the treadmill and try reading a book or work on a crossword puzzle. Better yet, download a language-learning podcast and soak in a new idioma.
“Just as working out can keep your body in good shape as you age, stretching your brain can keep it in top form, too. And doing them together is double the fun,” contributor Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen wrote. “Don’t like multitasking? Hit the crossword right after the gym, when your brain is energized.”
Memory Improvement Tip #4: Exercise
If you don’t like the sound of learning Spanish while your logging miles on the elliptical, then trim off the educational experience and focus on the exercise.
Health magazine says you can do your memory a huge favor by elevating your heart rate for 20 minutes at least three times a week.
Quoting author Dr. Sam Wang, the magazine said that “aerobic exercise is two to three times as effective as any known brain-training activity.”
The magazine also pointed out that just one session of moderate exercise like jogging “makes you 30 percent more likely to maintain your cognitive function as you age.”
Memory Improvement Tip #5: Be Organized
Think of brain power as gas in a car. The more you drive the car, the more gas you use. So, if you want to save gas, you have to get creative. Consider having groceries delivered to you (a great solution for city dwellers), or walk instead of drive.
There are also creative ways that you can save your brain power to make sure you have some gas left in the tank for memories and cognitive excellence.
First step, says Harvard Medical School: Do some organizational spring cleaning.
“Take advantage of calendars and planners, maps, shopping lists, file folders, and address books to keep routine information accessible,” the school said. “clutter from your office or home to minimize distractions, so you can focus on new information that you want to remember.”
One of the best ways to do this is to use your smartphone’s alarm and calendar functions to remind you of meetings or appointments.Also, popular organizing apps like Google Keep and Remember the Milk will help ease the burden of a hectic schedule.
This Lifestyle Health Care Blog is proudly sponsored by SKIN GUARDS.