Can’t seem to ever remember your neighbor’s children’s names? Or have you ever completely blanked on the name of say, your favorite movie from like only twenty years ago? Yes, this may mean your memory maybe dwindling. But don’t worry, this doesn’t mean that you will be eventually left in a permanent haze as you age without any remedy in sight.
The good news is that even in mid-to-late age our amazing brain is always working to improve how our recall functions. Brianne Bettcher, a fellow at the University of California, San Francisco, Memory and Aging Center told Real Simple that “your brain continues to develop neurons and build new connections to strengthen memory as you age, a phenomenon called neuroplasticity. So it’s never too late to improve your powers of recall.” So, how to improve memory.
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Though we may feel inundated in our fast-paced information age, where our lives may be more frenetic than ever, memory specialists say that we actually have the capacity to remember a lot more than we do. What is memory? Memories, according to WebMD, are made by linking two or more nerve cells in the brain (called neurons). This process solidifies the connection so that you can recall the memory later.
So why is it we can’t we remember if we took our multivitamin or not? Because we simply need to work on improving our attention capacity every day. There are plenty of was to sharpen memory and keep it strong as we get older. Perhaps the number one way improve memory is by sleeping, and this includes naps, too. A study published in the journal Sleep Medicine, reported that people who napped remembered more of the tasks they had performed than did those who didn’t. So aim for seven to nine hours of sleep each night, the time when your brain solidifies those important connections between neurons.
Cardiovascular activity for 20 to 30 minutes a day, three times a week also helps in your ability for recall. How? It raises your heart rate and gets the blood flowing to your hippocampus which works at increasing you long-term memory. But just as you should work the body, you should also work your mind constantly by doing new activities outside your comfort zone. Mentally stimulating activities such as crossword puzzles, Sudoku, studying and speaking a second or third language, reading, and socializing will help keep it sharp as a whip.
When it comes to how to improve memory, since we are what we eat, consuming foods with omega 3 fatty acids like fish and walnuts are not only good for your heart, but also good your brain. Berries, especially blueberries, are loaded with antioxidants like anthocyanins that protect cells in the brain. Scientists also suggest that eating blueberries may also have the power to create new pathways for connections in the brain.
Do you get frustrated when meet someone and then forget their name? If you really want to remember people’s names after you meet them, try playing the memory game with yourself. When you’re introduced to say, Mike, trying making up a rhyme with their name like “Mike on a bike.” Memory experts also advise that you repeat their name as you’re introduced (“Hi, Carmen”) and again as you finish your conversation (“Pleasure meeting you, Carmen”). Then repeat their name to yourself as you walk away. Try to remember these few helpful tricks of the memory trade and you’ll get your brain working at its full capacity again in no time. It’s a no-brainer.