Five Ways to Keep Your Memory Sharp at Any Age
Modern society has brought some innovative technologies and research that has greatly increased life expectancy all over the world. According to WHO, between 2000 and 2015 the global life expectancy increased by five years, and with life-changing technology like 3D printers on the rise, there’s no telling how long we’ll live in the future.
This has a lot of potential, but living longer also means we’re more susceptible to other types of health problems, like dementia, which affects 13.9 percent of people 71 or older and 37.4 percent of people 90 or older according to a study published in Neuroepidemiology. Given how long we’re living, it’s no wonder people are looking for ways to protect their memories throughout their lives.
1. Protect your head from injury
Although it seems simple, one of the best ways to protect your memory is to protect your head. This is especially true for athletes, and why the NFL has gotten so much flack lately. Research shows a strong link between traumatic head injuries (when you lose consciousness for over 30 minutes) and your chances of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s. Make sure to use proper equipment, especially helmets when you’re playing sports or riding your bike.
2. Continue learning
Education is key to a healthy memory. In an interview with the New York Times, psychologist Margie E. Lachman said people who have college degrees can slow their brain’s aging by a decade. The benefits extend far beyond what we’d consider traditional education, however. Studies show just learning a new skill like photography or how to use a program later in life can protect memory.
3. Practice basic memory techniques
Protecting your brain is one thing, but it helps if you already have a few strategies to make remembering easier in the first place. The Center for Development and Learning recommends using mnemonics (like creating stories or songs for or by creating abbreviations like ROY G. BIV for things to help you remember them) and repetition to move knowledge from short-term to long-term memory.
4. Take care of your body
How you treat your body has a lasting impact on your mind as well.
Eat well – diets high in saturated fat are associated with poorer memories warns Harvard Health. Conversely, a diet rich in antioxidants might protect memory says NBC. Additionally, some vitamin deficiencies can cause memory issues, like B-12 deficiency or deficiency in omega-3. Some plants, herbs, and supplements like peppermint, ashwagandha, and CogniQ are thought to improve cognition and memory.
Exercise – Studies show exercise may increase gray matter in the brain and helps improve sleep and weight, which are also related to cognition. Studies eating well, exercise, getting enough sleep, and not smoking all have a positive effect on memory.
Sleep – it’s not surprising that sleep is essential for healthy cognitive functioning throughout your life according to the Huffington Post. Sleep helps process and store memories and enhances learning and recall. Not getting enough sleep might even make you prone to remember things incorrectly.
Don’t smoke – according to the Daily Mail, people who smoke might lose 33 percent of their daily memory.
5. Manage stress in a healthy way
Many studies have shown that stress may damage memory in both the short-term and long-term. Daily stress can interfere with memory formation in the first place, but stress that lasts for years can lead to cognitive decline. The best thing you can do is find a healthy way to relieve stress or just leave a situation (like the job you hate or a bad relationship) that causes ongoing problems.
Improving memory is something that’s on everyone’s mind, and the increase in brain games, puzzles, and brain enhancement supplements are a testament to that. However, you shouldn’t wait until you’re getting on in your years to start protecting and developing your memory, especially since there are some easy ways to start working on it now. Simply living a healthy lifestyle by eating right, exercising, getting enough sleep, and managing your stress will go a long way to improving your memory right now. If you are already following these tips and still concerned about your memory or thinking of adding a new workout routine or supplement to your diet, make sure to speak with your doctor.
Kathy Mitchell was born in the USA. She has done MA in English Literature. She loves to publish her article on different health and beauty websites. She is contributing to Consumer Health Digest. Follow her on Google+, Facebook and Twitter.