Do you know there are ways to nurture a sharper, stronger memory even as we age? The old adage, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” isn’t particularly true where the human brain is concerned. Regardless of age, in fact, the human brain constantly changes and adapts. Thanks to “neuroplasticity”, the brain has the potential to create new neural connections and cells. Hence, it is possible to hone memory function, and improve, grow, or reactivate the neurons in our brain.
To encourage sharp memory in seniors, proper stimulus is required. As such, our daily habits and lifestyle choices tend to have significant impacts on our cognitive well-being and overall brain health.
A Healthy Brain
What does not make for a healthy brain? The following could be depleting your brain health:
- Inadequate exercise
- Lack of sleep
- Poor diet
So, to keep your brain healthy, remove the above culprits from your life! Boosting memory and brain health has numerous benefits. It can help put off the progression or onset of cognitive diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. Let’s look at some memory improvement habits that older adults should try developing.
Stress Management and Relaxation
Clinically proven ways of memory improvement include meditating and other de-stressing relaxation techniques. We tend to think more clearly when we are calm and relaxed. We remember more and retain information better. We tend to make more mistakes, however, and be more forgetful when we are agitated and stressed. There is a definite link between mental clarity and calmness.
Dancing requires your memory to remember the moves and steps involved. It improves hand-body coordination, and promotes socialization, is a good form of exercise, and most importantly, it is fun! In fact, dancing has proved to be a good antidote for stress and can be a great antidepressant.
New Skill Development
Although you’re likely skilled in many areas, you should still be game to try something new! Try some experimentation with watercolors. Take up a musical instrument. Find an area that interests you and pursue a course on it or embark on a DIY project on your favorite topic.
To stimulate your brain and enjoy yourself while doing it, reading is one of the easiest methods. Whatever you read can be informative, enjoyable, interesting, thrilling – you name it. Studies have shown, in fact, that longevity may actually be promoted by reading.
Board and Card Games
Whether you’re attempting a challenging game like Bridge or trying something easier like Gin Rummy, to think and calculate, card games require brainwork. To exercise memory muscles, you can also consider playing board games like checkers, chess, Scrabble, and mah-jongg.
If you use your muscles, they’ll become stronger and more well-developed. The same can be said for your brain. There are numerous “brain games” that can easily be found and played online.
Though this can go along with the next category, it also serves to improve cognitive skills and brain performance. Even if it’s just a short nap in the middle of your day, you will benefit from it.
Getting Enough Sleep
For optimum mental and physical health, adults need seven to nine hours of sleep every night. Are you getting enough? To consolidate and optimize new information and store it in your memory, the body requires adequate sleep.
A healthy mind and a healthy body are absolutely related. Keep your body fit and stay active if you want your memory to be fit, as well. Try improving brain power and memory by doing memory-focused exercises.
Physical exercise increases oxygen levels, and that means better sleep, decreased stress, and more beneficial chemicals getting to your brain.
Nutrition and Diet
You’ve heard it a million times: You are what you eat. A crucial role in memory health is played by the food you consume. Try fewer processed foods and, instead, eat fresh foods which are also low in sugar. Try getting all the recommended daily allowances for vitamins, minerals, and nutrients – in fact, you should make it your daily mission to fulfil all your nutritional needs!