September 10, 2012 by Staff Writer
Where are your keys? Did you shut the garage door? Whats that guys name again? Everyone has some memory lapses, but as you age, it seems like they get more frequent and take longer to snap out of. While theres no way to keep your brain (or your body, for that matter) young forever, you can keep your brain as sharp as possible by using some of these tricks. It may not be a steel trap exactly, but your memory will definitely be better.
Take care of your body:
Not only will you look and feel a lot better if you exercise regularly, but your brain will feel the effects too. Exercising increases the blood flow to your brain, particularly in the area that controls memory, and may even help the formation of new brain cells. Even people who arent fit can start to reap the benefits in a few months or less. Just another reason to dust off your old tennis shoes and hit the gym!
Of course you have to maintain a healthy diet to get the nutrients your body needs and keep your weight down, but you should also consider your brains health when meals or snack times roll around. Many foods can protect your brain and improve how it functions. Try incorporating Omega-3 fatty acids into your diet by eating more salmon, tuna, walnuts, and eggs. Also try some antioxidants, like blueberries, broccoli, and carrots. Remembering to eat your vegetables wont be so hard with your improved memory.
It can be hard to eat everything youre supposed to on a regular basis, so if you find your pantry lacking in the good foods you just read about, you can add a memory-boosting supplement to your daily routine. Fish oil supplements contain the Omega-3 fatty acids you can get from food, Vitamin E can slow the progression of Alzheimers, and Asian ginseng may benefit memory. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about adding these to your diet.
Studies have shown that high levels of the stress hormone cortisol can make your memory foggy. The good news is that you typically have to be stressed out for several days in a row for the effect to be significant, and your memory should bounce back after youve de-stressed for a week. You may not be able to get rid of every stressful situation in your life, but eating smart, cutting out unnecessary commitments, and even learning to meditate can help reduce your stress significantly. Remember to give yourself some time to unwind or you could be hurting your chances for success.
This tip applies to all areas of your life, from your home to your schedule. While organization doesnt improve brain function directly, it can help you cope with memory lapses and give you fewer things to commit to pure memory. An organized home or office will keep you from losing things and let you rely on logic if you dont remember putting something away. Making lists and writing down plans will help you stay on track in your daily activities without wasting time or forgetting something important.
Use all your senses:
When youre learning something new or even just trying to record in your mind where you parked, try engaging as many senses as possible. You form stronger memories when you use more senses. Look around, take a deep breath, and listen to the ambient sounds. Touch something or have a taste if its appropriate. Taking a moment to use more than one sense will help you recall this memory more easily as you will have involved more areas of your brain.
Keeping your memory sharp doesnt have to mean sitting in a quiet room studying, reading, and doing crossword puzzles as you age. In fact, people with active social lives tend to have delayed memory loss. Engaging in society by interacting with friends, family, or civic organizations can offset the risk of mental decline, especially in those who have had less formal education. So join that bingo club or start volunteering to make your community better. You could be improving yourself at the same time.