How to Exercise Your Memory
If you think that you can get smarter if you use your brains more often, you are partially correct. While exercising your memory or “using your brain” more often does not boost your IQ, it can help improve your memory. And a good solid memory is the cornerstone of mental intelligence and creativity.
In a report by the Daily Telegraph, performing a mental exercise twice a day could help delay the rapid memory loss associated with dementia for more than a year, It said that a study of nearly 500 people aged 75 to 85 years looked at how often they did crosswords or puzzles, or just read, wrote or played card games. Of those who developed dementia, people who did 11 mental exercises a week developed memory problems about a year and four months later on average than those who did four exercises a week
This study suggests that elderly people who will go on to develop dementia may delay their onset of rapid mental decline by taking part in mentally stimulating activities. However, the age at which people were diagnosed with dementia was not affected
The study has some limitations, including the fact that it was a relatively small study and only measured participation in the activities at one point in time. Although by itself, this study does not prove that increased mental activity reduces risk of dementia, keeping mentally and physically active is probably beneficial for people of all ages.
Where did the story come from? The research was carried out by Dr Charles B Hall and colleagues from Albert Einstein College of Medicine and other research centers in New York. The study was funded by the National Institute on Aging and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. It was published in the peer-reviewed medical journal Neurology.
Most people assume that to exercise the brain or memory means you have to be strapped in a chair, hook up with electrodes and look at a flashing screen, Most mental exercises are leisure activities like doing word puzzles, playing poker or bridge with family and close friends, playing scrabble or mahjong, reading a novel or thinking of creative ways to solve problems. You can also exercise your memory by remembering your grocery lists or errands instead of using a paper and pen. You can also use a memory tool to help you get more out of your brain.
Staying mentally active is a choice and a mindset. Make it a habit to be mindfully aware of everyday things like, for instance where you put your car keys or wallet. Always have a mental conversation in your head to remind yourself to stay focus and alert in whatever tasks you do, be it cooking a meal or balancing the checkbook. I have a friend in her 90s who is still mentally-sharp. She still does volunteer work in old folks home. Focusing on others instead of yourself will also strengthen your mental outlook in life.
And don’t forget to get plenty of exercise. Get up early to go for walks in the park, or go for a run or a swim. Whatever is convenient to you. You don’t have to join an expensive gym to keep that ticker in shape. Rigorous physical movement brings oxygen to the brain. Exercising your mind, memory, body and soul will help you stay physically and mentally sharp for a long, long time.
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