Learn something new every day
More Info... by email
Keeping the brain sharp through memory exercises is a good way to promote mental acuity as one ages. Memory exercises can be done by changing simple routines in life, such as visiting new restaurants, spending time with friends, or even using one’s non-dominant hand to perform simple tasks. Learning a new language or sport also is a great way to improve brain function. Regular reading or mental games such as cross word puzzles are another good way to keep memory sharp.
As individuals age, many will experience decreased memory abilities. Short-term memory is often the first to suffer, showing itself in forgetting memorized phone numbers, misplacing car keys, and stuttering over name recall. This decline is associated with a stagnant routine that leaves parts of the brain unused. Memory exercises can help keep typically unused parts of the brain active and improve memory abilities.
One type of memory exercise involves changing one’s regular routine. It can be something as simple as going to a new restaurant for lunch, cooking something completely new, or visiting a friend in the next town over for the weekend. New sensory stimulation can help invigorate memory.
Another easy way to improve memory is to use one’s non-dominant hand to do simple tasks. For example, if one is right-handed, the left hand could be used to brush teeth or hair. Although this may feel slow and ineffective, in actuality a part of the brain is being used that is rarely put to work, making the brain stronger.
Memory exercises can also be accomplished by learning new things. This might include studying a new language or researching how to do a math problem. And it does not have to be something traditionally thought of as brain stimulating, learning a new craft or sport may also activate the brain in new ways.
A less direct way to practice memory exercises is through regular social interactions, especially for individuals who live by themselves. Being alone can cause stress and depression, which interferes with memory. Being around others can improve mood and therefore cognitive abilities. Conversing with others can also prove to be a stimulating experience, especially if the conversation turns to friendly debate.
Perhaps the most traditional memory exercises can be found in regular brain stimulating activities. Reading, completing crossword puzzles or playing solitaire are all ways to stimulate the brain. Watching television is not as effective, as the brain is mostly passive during this activity.
Not only can mind exercises improve memory, but physical exercise can as well. Studies show that aerobic exercise can improve memory abilities as it increases blood circulation and therefore more oxygen and glucose can reach the brain. Even as little as 30 minutes of brisk walking each day can help.
What is the common cause of loss of memory?
One of our editors will review your suggestion and make changes if warranted. Note that depending on the number of suggestions we receive, this can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Thank you for helping to improve wiseGEEK!