In my last post about healthy aging, we explored some basic ways to protect the brain. I promised in that post to provide some additional fun and effective ideas to improve memory for now and in the future. Here’s a list that can easily be incorporated into daily life. Choose one or two or go for all of them.
How to Improve Your Memory
- Challenge your brain. You can read or do crosswords or watch football or play cards or brain games. Any or all of these are good. Make it even more effective by doing something new. If you’ve done crosswords forever, try learning to play video games. They’re not just for kids. Lots of research shows that the brain loves learning something novel.
“It’s definitely good news,” said Dr. Kenneth Langa, a professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan and a coauthor of the new study. “Even without a cure for Alzheimer’s disease or a new medication, there are things that we can do socially and medically and behaviorally that can significantly reduce the risk.”
- Take up a new hobby that requires eye-hand coordination. Learn to knit. Do a big puzzle. Take a drawing class. Something as simple as brushing your teeth with the other hand forces your brain to make new neural pathways. Now that’s healthy aging!
Learn to play an instrument. I’m learning to play the guitar. Well, trying anyway. It’s good for the brain to learn something that requires attention over a long period of time. Did you know that you can play dozens of songs with only three chords?
- Engage in a new sport. Pickle ball anyone? Or tennis. Or bocce ball. Or golf. Get out there and be frustrated with the rest of us late-blooming athletes. It’s good for the brain!
- Do math in your head. I’ve heard that this exercise is often given as an Alzheimer’s test, so I started to count backward from 100 by 7s during my morning walk. I’m really bad at math, and I’m embarrassed to say that I rarely end up with the same number, but it forces me to concentrate. And that can’t be bad.
What’s the Good News about Healthy Aging?
The good news is that the dementia rate has dropped 24% in the past 20 years. Whoopee! Read this article from CNN to find out more. This is spectacular news to celebrate in terms of healthy aging, but until it’s down to zero, I’m going to keep working my brain as much as I can.
Tell us how you’re improving your memory every day. We’d love to share it with our readers!