Memory --- Use It or Lose It

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July 14, 2008, last updated July 2, 2016
By Susan M. Callahan, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist








Had this experience? You have a set of keys in your hand and
you're setting out to leave the house.  You reach for the keys
and-- where are they?  They've vanished. They were just in
your hands and now they're gone.  You now try to back track
to find where you put them down. A half an hour later, they're
still lost?  You begin to worry that you're losing your memory
or your mind or both.  

Almost all of us have experienced memory loss.  The brain that
could remember everything --remember too much-- starts to
lose its ability to remember anything. Or so it seems.

But memory is , it turns outs, like a muscle.  Use it and it gets
stronger. Neglect it and it atrophies.




























Practice Remembering Lists to Improve Your Memory

The best way to improve memory is to practice, practice,
practice
. You must challenge yourself to remember simple
things (phone numbers, id numbers).

Then up the challenge to remember a list of 5 things.

Then 3 days later, challenge yourself to recall the same list.

In days past, people memorized things more. They memorized
poems, Shakespeare. In our public schools, back when I was a
kid --- about 500 years ago! --- we used to teach our children
to memorize poems and to recite them at assembly. Today's
kids are not as fortunate. They grow up learning to rely on
smartphone applications to remember phone numbers, names,
even friends. As a result, their memories become weaker and
weaker and weaker over time. You don't have to let that
happen to you.

Find a single poem, song, narrative and memorize it. That helps
your memory in general. Once you memorize a poem, challenge
yourself to recite it on the first day of every month. That will
consolidate and strengthen your long-term memory.

Another wonderful way to strengthen your memory is to learn
a new language. You don't have to spend money doing it. Just
go to youtube. There are wonderful, free language courses
there. And the best part is --no one is looking over your work
to give you a grade or a deadline. Take your time and enjoy
yourself! Some new studies have found that learning a
language is one of the best ways to reduce your chances of
developing memory problems and
dementia later in life.

Try to Remember What You Ate Yesterday

Start to sharpen your memory by remembering what you had
for dinner yesterday. When that gets easy, try remembering
what you ate the day before yesterday. Science has found that
that simple task not only helps to sharpen your memory but, it
also helps to dampen your appetite



Get Enough Sleep to Improve Your Memory

New research has shown that a good's night sleep is necessary
to lose weight and combat obesity.

But sleep performs another function. It also helps your brain to
repair. Lose enough sleep and you'll find yourself unable to
remember. In war, sleep deprivation is used a s a torture. After
24 hours of sleep deprivation, you simply stop being as smart
.

Exercise Improves Your Memory

Doing regular cardio and strength exercises can improve your
memory, new research has found. In 2013, scientists from the
University of British Columbia in Vancouver Canada examined
86 elderly  women aged 70 to 80 who had experienced
problems remembering.

They separated the women into 2 groups. One group exercised
twice a week doing aerobic (cardio) exercises such as brisk
walking. The other group did strength training twice a week. At
the end of 6 months, the women who did aerobic, cardio
exercises had better memory of things they had lost or
misplaced but both groups showed improvements in their
ability to recall where items had been placed.

Here is a simple exercise routine to improve your memory. Try
to exercise at least three times a week. Do cardio exercises on
all 3 days, and do strength training at least twice a week. One
simple program would be to walk briskly --fast enough so that
you can't carry on a conversation comfortably -- Mondays,
Wednesdays and Fridays. Then do, strength training on
Tuesdays and Thursdays. Here is a
strength training routine
you can do at home.

  






























































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