As we age, our mind’s cognitive capacity begins to deteriorate. This is part of the inevitable, natural process of aging that takes its toll on all aspects of human life. While we cannot prevent the effects of aging, we can slow them down, and even reverse them in some cases. Memory loss is a frightening subject for most of us, but the good news is that there are some measures we can take to slow our cognitive decline. Here are seven brain activities that will improve your memory in the long run:
1. Learn a New Language!
Learning a new language can benefit you on many levels. Not only does it add to your personal skill set, but it’s also an outstanding brain exercise that can prevent, delay or even reverse memory loss. Language-learning activities will help you remember, recognize and understand words, which will take your cognitive function to a whole new level. Language learning is a great weapon against memory loss that improves vocabulary and grammar, as well as the elements of mental and verbal fluency.
2. Puzzles and Word Games Are Also Great
Another brain exercise that will enrich your general knowledge and help prevent memory loss is playing word games and solving crosswords or other puzzles. It can be Sudoku or a Scrabble game – whatever appeals to you, as long as it stimulates your mind with new words and makes you associate them with objects or actions. It is now known that playing different word games and doing crossword puzzles on a daily basis can significantly reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease later in life.
3. Never Underestimate the Power of Music!
Music, and music therapy (commonly referred to as ‘melotherapy’) provides great brain exercise as well, since it not only improves your mental focus but also supports healthy long-term cognitive functioning. While it is claimed that listening to classical music can help babies and young children boost their brainpower and improve verbal fluency skills, music is also a great ‘treatment’ for memory loss. Simply listen to your favorite kind of music on a daily basis, and try to remember the melody or lyrics (and sing or hum along), and you will find it both useful and entertaining!
4. Don’t Be Ashamed to Talk to Yourself
Studies have revealed that people who talk to themselves actually have a lower risk of developing dementia later in life. In other words, talking to yourself and even telling yourself stories is an outstanding way to delay memory loss and to stay focused on important details. Moreover, this is also a great ‘emotional exercise.’ Storytelling has been used in the treatment of Alzheimer’s for a long time, and it has turned out to useful in improving memory function by helping you retain more information.
5. Read Different Books and Try to Remember the Plots
Who doesn’t like to read a good book every once in a while? They say that a man who does not read only lives one life, but one who reads can live a thousand lives. This is why one of the greatest brain exercises you can do to prevent memory loss is to read as much as you can, and as often as you can. From books and essays to newspaper or magazine articles, you should read anything that draws your attention. You can do it in your spare time at home, or while riding the train or waiting in a line. Another great tip is trying to remember the plot of the books you read years ago – it definitely helps strengthen the memory!
6. Try Brain-Building Exercises
There are numerous games and exercises that are specifically designed for boosting your brain. Also, hand-eye coordination is particularly important for stimulating your mind and preventing memory loss. You do not need to exhaust yourself with demanding brain exercises; you can rely on easy or moderate exercises that activate the neurons and the synapses, thus sending immediate messages to the nervous system and helping prevent cognitive deficits.
7. Mnemonic Devices Also Come in Handy!
Last, but not least, a mnemonic device is a ‘tool’ that helps you remember things easier. For instance, you can associate a visual image with a name or a word to help you remember a person, or you can associate an acronym with a bigger word. On the other hand, alliterations, rhymes and jokes are three other great ways to remember names, facts, figures and other essential information.
These are seven efficient brain exercises that you can rely on to help prevent or delay memory loss as you age. Used individually or combined, these exercises will undoubtedly help you stay focused and alert, both right now and during your senior years.
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