These brain fitness tips will fight age-related memory loss and improve overall brain health. Plus, these cognitive exercises are easier — and more fun — than you think!
Before the tips, a quip:
“Men forget everything; women remember everything,” said comedian Rita Rudner. “That’s why men need instant replays in sports. They’ve already forgotten what happened.”
The more brain fitness exercises you do, the less memory loss you’ll face as you age! These 10 brain-building activities are easy and effective. For more information on brain health, read Michelle Schoffro Cook’s The Brain Wash: A Powerful, All-Natural Program to Protect Your Brain Against Alzheimer’s, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Depression, Parkinson’s, and Other Diseases.
10 Brain Fitness Tips to Reduce Memory Loss
1. Do “neurobic” exercises for brain fitness. Certain cognitive exercises can create new associations between different brain parts and reduces memory loss, according to neurobiologist Lawrence Katz of Duke University. Neurobics include getting dressed or showering in the dark, switching what you normally wear on one side to the other (e.g., put your watch or bracelet on your opposite wrist), or even hanging pictures upside down.
2. Limit your alcohol intake. The more alcohol you consume, the lower your brain volume becomes, which leads to memory loss and poor concentration. Scientists at Wellesley College in Massachusetts found that low to moderate levels of alcohol helps protect your health from cardiovascular disease, but heavy drinking shrinks brains. These researchers define heavy drinking as more than 14 drinks per week, moderate drinking as 8 to 14 drinks per week, and low as less than 7 drinks per week.
4. Try something new to reduce memory loss. An active brain can slow the mental decline that comes with age. “A lifetime of good mental habits pays off,” says University of Alberta researcher Dr. Dennis Foth. “People who are curious at a young age are more likely to be mentally active and stay active as they age. And we found it’s never too late to start. With a little effort, even people in their 70s and 80s can see dramatic improvements.” Fun brain fitness tips include memorizing poetry, learning a new musical instrument, or taking Spanish or French lessons.
4. Smell the sandalwood. “Natural scents have a direct pathway to the brain, and research shows that some chemical constituents of aromatherapy oils, particularly…sesquiterpenes can cross the blood-brain barrier and increase oxygen flow to the brain,” says Schoffro Cook, author of The Brain Wash. Extra oxygen increases energy, immune function, positive moods, and learning. Frankincense and sandalwood are particularly effective at increasing oxygen levels in the brain — which will reduce memory loss.
5. Tango for brain fitness. Dance requires twists and turns that strengthens brain connections. Learning the cha-cha-cha can nourish brain cells, which translates to quick thinking in the real world. “Exercise can protect the brain against environmental toxins by counteracting free radicals and reducing inflammation,” says Schoffro Cook. Physical activity is one of the best ways to promote the growth of new brain cells and reduce memory loss. If you’re particularly concerned about age-related memory loss, read 7 Anti-Aging Tips – Keys to a Long, Healthy Life.
6. Volunteer. “Good Samaritans have been found to have lower stress levels and a sense of well-being, factors that add up to better overall health, including brain health,” says Schoffro Cook, doctor of natural medicine. The brain fitness benefits of volunteering include increased mental functioning and better communication skills. The key may be in the “helper’s high” – the sense of calmness and well-being that comes from helping others.
7. Socialize with people. Talking can make your memory better and improve your thinking skills, says Oscar Ybarra, a psychologist at the University of Michigan. Further, he believes that visiting with a friend or neighbor may be as helpful as doing a crossword puzzle. About his study, he said, “Short-term social interaction lasting for just 10 minutes boosted participants’ intellectual performance as much as engaging in so-called ‘intellectual’ activities for the same amount of time.”
8. Strive for variety. Don’t rely on a particular practice, supplement, or food to increase your brain health. Instead, incorporate different activities into your life. For instance, take a child hiking if you normally spend time with adults; go for a run instead of the usual yoga class. The more you challenge your brain and body, the healthier and stronger they become — and the less memory loss you’ll face. Also, strive for variety in the foods you eat (and read 10 Foods for Brain and Immune Health).
9. Get sound sleep to reduce memory loss. Your brain requires huge amounts of energy to function properly; sleep boosts memory and allows your brain to process information. “Though it’s not sexy, the traditional sleep advice is still effective,” says Dr Rachel Morehouse of the Atlantic Sleep Centre. Sleep little – if at all – during the day because naps rob you of sleep at night. Get up and go to bed at set times. Stay active but avoid exercising in the evening because it keeps you awake. Wind down before you go to bed with music or a book. To keep your brain fit, enjoy healthy food, eat light meals at night, and avoid caffeine.
10. Reduce your exposure to neurotoxins. Avoiding harmful chemicals, food additives, and chemically altered ingredients is a fairly obvious brain fitness tip! While it’s not possible to completely eliminate pollution from your environment, you can limit it. Pure products, organic produce, natural fragrances, whole foods, and fresh air will make your memory better and boost your brain health. If you like wearing makeup but haven’t gone natural yet, read 8 Organic Cosmetics and Natural Makeup Tips.
For more brain fitness tips, read What Are the Best Brain Vitamins? 10 Brain Improvement Tips.
If you have any thoughts about these brain fitness tips — or how to reduce memory loss — please comment below!