As we age, our memories begin to change. We often find ourselves becoming more forgetful, misplacing things, or taking longer to recall certain things. Though memory impairment is part of normal aging, there are a number of ways in which you can help keep your mind sharp as you get older. By adding these simple activities to your routine you can help to push off memory loss, and keep your mind as active and healthy as possible.
What are some tips that can help slow memory loss?
Get Physically Active
Physical activity increases blood flow to your whole body, which includes your brain. By keeping a healthy blood flow you can ensure your mind is actively working and staying as physically healthy as possible.
These activities do not have to be strenuous or overly taxing. Simply going for a brisk walk or doing aerobics can help get your heart rate up. For older adults, a great option is aqua fit, which is easy on joints, or gentle stretches and senior-targeted yoga, which can help you stay active in a low-impact gentle way.
Stay Mentally Active
Mentally stimulating activities can also help keep your brain in shape, which has been shown to delay signs of natural memory loss. The great thing about keeping your brain stimulated, is that you can choose from a wide variety of activities depending on your likes and interests. Many games are brain boosting, including word games like crosswords or word scrambles.
Card games are also great ways to keep your brain sharp, and many individuals enjoy playing bridge, cribbage, or spades.
Those that are musically inclined can benefit from playing an instrument, which is excellent for overall brain health, or you can keep your brain active by learning via podcasts, reading, or online classes.
Staying social is important when it comes to brain boosting. Studies have shown that interacting and connecting with others can help not only improve moods and mental health, but keep your brain healthy and active.
Social interactions can help ward off depression and reduce stress, which are two factors associated with increased memory problems. By spending time with loved ones you can improve mental health and potentially prevent early memory decline. Joining social groups, clubs, and teams can be a great way to form bonds with others. When you can’t see friends or family members in person, technology can help connect you so you are ensuring you still have access to social interactions.
4. Get Organized
A cluttered living space, work space or any other environment can often lead to a cluttered mind. Staying organized, making lists, and planning out your daily activities or weekly tasks can not only help you stay on top of things, but will also make it easier to remember everything. The simple act of writing a list or going over your daily chores can help engrain them in your memory, which helps prevent forgetfulness.
Lists, calendars, planners and schedules are all great ways to keep yourself on top of what needs to get done. Similarly, keeping your living spaces organized, and ensuring everything has its rightful place means it's less likely to misplace items or lose track of your possessions.
Sleep plays an important role in consolidating memories and then recalling them. It is important to ensure you are getting enough sleep each day. For most people, this means scheduling seven to nine hours to ensure you are well rested and ready to tackle everything in your daily life. Sleep deprivation is a leading cause of memory lapses and a possible cause of long term memory decline as well. Create a bedtime routine if you struggle with regulating your sleeping habits. A variety of apps including white noise, soothing nature sounds, or old radio shows can be a comforting and familiar way to help soothe you to sleep
A healthy diet may be as good for your brain as it is for your heart. That means having a well balanced diet with lots of fruits, vegetables, and grains. Choosing low-fat proteins, like fish, chicken or beans is also a good option to reduce high blood pressure. Natural fats, nutrients and vitamins - such as omega-3s or vitamin b-12 will help keep your whole body strong and healthy - including your brain. Healthy diets and natural supplements - as advised from a health care provider - can promote a well rounded health for body and mind.
The better you take care of yourself, the better your memory is likely to be. These tips can help keep your mind sharp, but are not remedies for conditions such as dementia, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, depression, or other mental health or medical conditions. Staying healthy is key, and following treatment plans as needed or recommended by health care professionals or caregivers is an important part of ensuring you live your fullest, healthiest life - physically and mentally.
Learn more about Memory conditions and how to cope.