Everyone has moments where they forget what they were saying, or they can’t find something they were using only a little while ago. Such instances can be annoying, even really inconvenient, and the long term memory loss that comes with age can be downright scary. Fortunately, there are several things you can do that can help you to both improve your short term memory now and ward off long term memory loss as you age.
Get Physical on a Daily Basis
That old saying about a healthy body leading to a healthy mind is true. Your muscles need oxygen to work, so physical activity gets your heart going and your blood flowing throughout your body, including your brain. This extra nourishment really helps keep your brain healthy. So spend some time every day (or almost every day) exercising. Aerobics and weight lifting are great, but if those aren’t your thing, going for long brisk walks works too. Playing sports with your friends is also great. It doesn’t really matter what you do, as long as you do it regularly.
Use Your Brain Daily, Too
There’s another old saying about the brain that also true: use it or lose it. Your brain is just like your muscles that way. Spend time every day doing something mentally stimulating to help keep your brain sharp. If you keep challenging yourself then your mental skills, including your memory, should improve. Anything that requires you to focus, think, and use your memory will do. Sudoku puzzles are fun and effective. Brain teasers can do the job too, if you’re into that kind of thing. Word jumbles also require you to exercise the necessary mental muscles. It doesn’t have to be puzzles, though. Playing games that require you to use your head, such as Scrabble or bridge, work just as well. Pick something that you find fun, and it will never be difficult to get in your mental exercise.
Learn to Play an Instrument
You can also learn to play a musical instrument. This will stimulate your brain in a different way than solving puzzles and playing games does, because it stimulates many different parts of your brain at the same time, such as the parts responsible for creativity, emotional expression, and hand-eye coordination. The more areas of your brain you activate at once, the greater the number of neural connections you develop, and brains with many neural connections are more resistant to memory loss and mental decline.
Get Out There and Socialize
Social interaction also helps stimulate your brain, but it does more than that, too. Social interaction releases endorphins that make you feel good, reduce stress, and help you avoid depression. Since stress and depression are well known contributors to memory loss, social interaction can help you avoid it. So get together with your friends and family on a regular basis.
Sleep helps you organize your memories so you can remember them more easily. Make sure you get enough of it, and you should be more resistant to age-related memory loss.
Your brain needs the nutrients you get from healthy food to function well. So eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and grains. Eat low-fat sources of protein, such as skinless chicken, fish, beans, and rice. It’s also a good idea to eat antioxidants. Chronic inflammation, such as happens to some people as they age, damages both the body and the brain. Antioxidant foods such as nuts, dark chocolate, watermelon, papayas, raspberries, blueberries, tomatoes, carrots, and any kind of leafy green will help reduce inflammation.
Get Enough Vitamin D
Vitamin D does many important things for you. One of them is helping your brain function properly. Dairy foods are often fortified with vitamin D, and their vitamin C content helps with vitamin D absorption. Getting out in the sun can cause your body to make vitamin D. However, you should also get your vitamin D levels tested, and take doctor-approved supplements if your levels are low.
Mindfulness is simply focusing your mind on where you are and what you are doing instead of daydreaming, worrying, or thinking about other things. By maintaining an awareness of your surroundings and what you are doing and feeling, you are helping your mind develop in a way that can help ward off memory loss. It also makes it easier to later remember what you were doing while you were mindful.
Make Time for Daily Meditation
Meditation can benefit your health in a number of ways. It reduces stress and blood pressure, for example and, as discussed above, reducing stress can help protect you from memory loss. Meditation has been shown to improve short term memory in some people as well. Just 10 or 15 minutes a day can work wonders for you.
Take a Fish Oil Supplement
Fish oil has a lot of omega-3 fatty acids, which lower your risk of heart disease, fight inflammation, and ward off age-related mental decline. Taking a fish oil supplement every day can be a lot easier than eating enough fish every day.
Sharpening your mind and boosting your memory doesn’t have to be a chore. There are so many different things you can do to improve your memory that it should be simple for you to find some combination that’s easy or even fun for you to do.