6 easy tactics to keep and improve your memory

If you seem to be losing your memory, there are things you may be able to do to improve it. Try these tips to see.

6 easy tactics to keep and improve your memory

1. Avoid tobacco

Smoking cigarettes or cigars constricts important arteries that deliver oxygen to your brain. It raises your odds for stroke and for vascular dementia and doubles the chances that you'll develop Alzheimer's disease.

2. Keep your head safe

  • Skip the roller coaster and other brain-jarring thrill rides.
  • There's evidence that high-speed amusement-park rides that whip your head from side to side or up and down may cause minor bleeding inside the brain.
  • Experts also suggest that you wear a helmet if you bike or ski.
  • Always buckle your seat belt in the car.
  • Keep your home clear of obstructions and slippery spots that could lead to a fall.
  • Any injury to your brain changes blood flow patterns, affects cellular connections, and can contribute to a decline in memory function.

3. Turn off the TV

  • In one study in Ohio, TV watchers had a higher risk for dementia. The more TV, the higher the odds.
  • Even a high-minded documentary doesn't stimulate thought and brain connections the way that talking with friends, pursuing hobbies, learning new things, and playing games can.

4. Do something different

  • Surprising your brain with unfamiliar experiences could help stimulate underused nerve cells in parts of the brain linked to memory and abstract thought.
  • Nerve cells in these key areas tend to shrink with age, reducing the brain's ability to process new information and retrieve old data.
  • Try doing things like getting dressed with your eyes closed, brushing your teeth with your nondominant hand, or even waking up to the smell of vanilla instead of the usual aroma of coffee.

5. Try neurobics

Neurobics are fun exercises use your senses and force you to think in new ways. Research shows that this kind of brain stimulation prompts the release of neurotrophins, fertilizer-like chemicals that encourage the growth of bigger, more-complex dendrites.

6. Do some more mental exercises

Try these mental exercises to keep your wits sharp:

  • Search for your house keys in your purse, using only your fingers.
  • Take a new route to a familiar place.
  • Reverse the order of stops you make in your local supermarket.
  • Type an e-mail or letter with one hand.
  • Dance to music with an unusual beat.
  • Figure out how to say words or sentences backward, or play other creative word games.

There are many little activities that you can do to improve your memory. Things like choosing a game over the TV or making your daily routine a little more interesting. They could all help and keep you from writing everything down for fear of forgetting.

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