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Mind Over Matter: Ways To Keep Your Memory Sharp

Healthy for life series: Ways to keep your memory sharp throughout life

We've listed great ways to keep your mind and memory sharp no matter your age on the calendar.

It's no secret that as human beings age, our brains lose some of our recall and response times due to changes in our brain's structure and functions. What was once an easy path to remember names, faces, and events can become a veritable long distance mental hike as we traverse through parts of the brain to access the same information.

Though larger memory concerns can be reflective of organic disorders, brain injury, or neurological illness, most of the memory concerns we face as we age are due to normal changes in our structure and function of our brain. These changes can cause a slow down in our cognitive response times, making it a frustrating process to learn new things or to pay attention to a task for long periods of time while minimizing distractions.

Starting out on the path to getting your memory moving back in the right direction can feel frustrating. But we have several ways listed below to help assist you on keeping that memory sharp no matter your age!

Keep Learning

Studies have shown that more engaged our brains are the more likely we are to have great cognitive functions. One way to do this? Never stop learning! It doesn't have to be a uniform class, though those can help in a number of ways, but join a book club, chess club, a discussion group, a cooking class with your spouse. Anything you haven't done before or maybe you have but want to learn a new facet of the subject. As well by continuing to read and pursue new information you can help your brain stay fit by keeping it always moving and learning.

Use All Your Senses Routinely

Your brain doesn't learn just by site. A study was performed on adults by showing them a series of emotionally neutral images, theses images were also each paired with a smell. They were not asked to remember the images. Later on, they were just shown the visuals without the odor accompanying them. They had excellent recall rates of the odor paired images. Brain imaging at the time indicated that the piriform cortex, the main odor-processing region of the brain, became active when people saw objects originally paired with odors, even though the smells were no longer present and the subjects hadn't tried to remember them.

Challenge your senses, especially smell, to become engaged in your memory process. When you dine out with your family try to guess the spices used in your favorite dish.

Play Brain Games

This goes hand in hand with Keep Learning, but as well the more you make that learning fun for yourself by challenging your mind you will find that it will give back great dividends. Children learn by playing, and adults can too. So pick up a Crossword puzzle or Sudoku if you are mathematically inclined; try word jumbles, pattern puzzles and everything in between. You may surprise yourself that your rate of solving these puzzles gets better over time.


Your Mother probably always said: "Practice makes perfect." and it's no lie. If you want to remember something one of the best ways you can achieve that is by repetition. If you thought about something go over it, mull it over. If you have an important date, write it down and say it out loud a couple of times.

Economize Your Memory

Another Mom adage? Don't be wasteful. And not wasting your memory on the minutia is an important facet of that. Leave your keys in exactly the same place so that you don't spend a long time searching for them in the morning. Organize your cupboards, minimize stored items, write important things down on a calendar. Make sure to apply that memory only when you need to and not waste it on items you can overcome by just being organized.

Have any other great ways, tips or ideas for improving your memory? Let us know!