Can’t find your keys? Forgot where you kept your wallet? Not sure if you’ve left the stove on after leaving home? These are just some of the familiar scenarios when our memory has failed us. While it’s easy to chalk these forgetful moments to the momentary brain fog, these could also be signs of serious cognitive decline. As we age, it’s no secret that our brain function declines. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t do anything about it. Like your muscles, it’s the case of “use it or lose it” so you’ll have to train your brain regularly. This is best accomplished by making memory exercises as part of your daily routine.
Best Memory Exercises to Train Your Brain
On top of exercising regularly and eating right, there are exercises that you can do daily that will help sharpen your mind. The experts recommend the following activities for giving your brain a good workout:
1. Test Your Ability to Recall
Make a list and memorize it. The list can be anything from grocery items to things to do. A couple of hours later, recall the items on your list and see how many items you can get right. Make sure that you make the list more challenging as you go along for the best mental stimulation.
2. Learn to Play an Instrument
If you have a musical bone in your body, learning to play a musical instrument is a great way to exercise your brain. According to a study, learning new skills that activate episodic memory, working memory and reasoning through a 3-month period can greatly improve cognitive function. This is especially helpful for older adults.
3. Practice Simple Math Daily
Basically, solve as many math problems as you can within a minute. Remember Mad Math Minute from grade school? There is no shortage of simple math generators that you can find online. The bottom line is, solving simple math in a minute every day can help your brain get in shape.
4. Surf Wikipedia:Random
One of the best ways to train the brain is to learn something new. If you like surfing the web, you can make it a daily habit to browse Wikipedia:Random which is just a way to stumble on a random article from Wikipedia. Reading a random article and learning something new is a great way to start your morning.
5. Write Instead of Type
In this day and age, people just use their keyboards and keypads. However, it’s been proven that longhand writing facilitates better learning and information retention. This happens because the brain’s filtering system is processing whatever you’re actively focusing at one given moment. Writing longhand triggers that response from the brain.
6. Play Video Games
There have been multiple studies that video games are a great vehicle for variety, novelty, and challenge. However, it really depends on which type of games you play. Playing action games such as Call of Duty or Overwatch can improve vision and attention. On the other hand, strategy games like Civilization or Age of Empires help in improving working memory.
High levels of chronic stress are found to increase the risk of mild cognitive impairment which can lead to Alzheimer’s Disease and other associated disorders. So what’s a great exercise to manage your stress levels? Meditation. Plus, it’s a great way to improve your concentration.
8. Play Sudoku
Crosswords are a great way to train the brain but if you don’t find them challenging anymore, Sudoku is a great alternative. Aside from being a fun and addictive way to pass the time, the game is also an excellent way to improve your problem-solving skills.
9. Play Mobile Apps
Everyone has a smartphone or tablet nowadays, so playing brain training apps is an accessible way to train your mind daily. Apps like Lumosity, Peak and Elevate can be played on both iOS and Android. There’s no shortage of high-quality brain training apps that can challenge your memory and attention.
10. Tell Yourself Stories
Telling stories has been proven to help with improving cognitive functions. This activity makes things easier for your brain to remember and focus on the important details. There’s a reason why storytelling is a method used to treat patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
The keys to a good brain-boosting activity are novelty, challenge, and is rewarding. Any of the memory exercises that are listed above should give your brain a much-needed workout and great for all ages. The most important thing is that you make it a point to do them as part of your daily routine. Otherwise, what’s the point?
With that said, you can’t expect your brain to function properly if you don’t take care of your body. For the best brain health, be sure that you eat right and exercise regularly.