Maintaining Memory Muscle

Who hasn’t suffered a moment or two of forgetfulness? Many people, both young and “seasoned,” experience memory lapses. The older we get, the more likely it is we will have more moments of forgetfulness.

There may be times we can’t remember where we put our car or house keys. There may be times we find it difficult to place a name with a face. But, more often than not, a lapse in memory does not signal a serious issue. The good news is most of us will be able to remain both alert and able as we age. Even if it take us a little bit longer to remember some things than it once did.

Although the brain isn’t actually a muscle, it does need exercise. Not the same kind of exercise needed by the body, of course. The brain needs regular mental stimulation. Studies have shown that brain function can be strengthened as we age by engaging the brain regularly. Cognitive function can be preserved and improved through stimulating activities like word games, puzzles, learning, hobbies, and even conversing with others about interesting topics.

If you experience more than occasional moments of forgetfulness, it is important to let your doctor know. He or she will know if there is cause for concern.

Here are a few things we can all do to stimulate our minds and exercise our memories.

A Few Ways to Exercise the Memory Muscle

  • Make lists. Keep track of things you need to remember by writing them down and marking them off.

  • Get organized. Eliminate clutter and put things back in the same place every time you use them.

  • Repeat information. If you want to remember something, say it over and over or write it down in your journal. The more you hear or see it, the better the chances are you will remember it.

  • Make associations. Trigger your memory by associating things that are related to each other. If you usually take your medication after brushing your teeth, keep your pills near your tooth brush.

  • Tackle a daily puzzle or brain teaser. There are lots of puzzles and games that challenge the mind, like crosswords, word searches, or Sudoku. Playing cards and board games can also stimulate the brain.

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