Tips to Improve Your Memory
By Paul Rothbart
Memory tends to decline with age, which is inconvenient because the older we get, the more past there is to remember. Important dates, tasks that need to be done, and especially forgetting someone's name can cause distress. Failing to remember can cause problems at work or with friends and family. But it's just something we have to accept as part of aging, right? Not necessarily. Yes, you can write things down or use the old string-around-the-finger trick, but memory can be improved. Here are some tips to do just that.
Exercise Your Brain
The brain is constantly developing new neural pathways for processing and recalling information. These number in the millions by adulthood. We tend to make things easy by just using the ones that are already there. But the brain requires stimulation through mental workouts in order to continue to grow and develop. Some good ways to workout and stimulate the brain are doing jigsaw and crossword puzzles, sudokus, and word searches. Learning a new skill is also an excellent way to improve memory and cognitive function. It could be speaking a new language, playing a musical instrument, or learning new recipes. Take a dance class with your significant other. Choose an activity you will enjoy that will challenge your brain.
The mind and body are linked. Physical activity is also mentally stimulating. Aerobic exercise is particularly good for the brain. Walk, run, swim, dance. Sports and other activities that require good hand-eye coordination and complex motor skills are excellent for staying mentally sharp. Exercising in the morning or during an afternoon break can perk up the brain to get through those sometimes tricky times of day. Keep the body moving and the mind will keep churning.
Get Good Sleep
It should be common knowledge that a tired brain is not going to function at its best. The amount of sleep a person can get by on is not the magic number. Most adults require 7.5-9 hours of sleep every night to avoid sleep deprivation. A regular sleep schedule is very helpful to getting a good night's sleep on a consistent basis. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. Avoid screens of any kind in the hour before bed. Be careful with caffeine as well. Everyone is different, find your cutoff time for when caffeine will interfere with sleep. Then no caffeine after that time.
Aging brings on challenges, not the least of which is a declining memory. But you don't have to live with that. Try these tips to keep the mind clicking and the memory effective. You'll still get old, but at least you will remember when you weren't.
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