Tips on how to sharpen the brain
Can't find your car keys? Forget your grocery list? Can't remember the name of the personal trainer you liked at the gym? You're not alone. Everyone forgets things occasionally. Still, memory loss is nothing to take lightly.
Although there are no guarantees when it comes to preventing memory loss or dementia, certain activities might help. Consider seven simple ways to sharpen your memory — and know when to seek help for memory loss.
1. Stay mentally active
Just as physical activity helps keep your body in shape, mentally stimulating activities help keep your brain in shape — and might keep memory loss at bay. Do crossword puzzles. Play bridge. Take alternate routes when driving. Learn to play a musical instrument. Volunteer at a local school or community organization.
2. Socialize regularly
Social interaction helps ward off depression and stress, both of which can contribute to memory loss. Look for opportunities to get together with loved ones, friends and others — especially if you live alone.
3. Get organized
You're more likely to forget things if your home is cluttered and your notes are in disarray. Jot down tasks, appointments and other events in a special notebook, calendar or electronic planner. You might even repeat each entry out loud as you jot it down to help cement it in your memory. Keep to-do lists current and check off items you've completed. Set aside a place for your wallet, keys and other essentials.
4. Sleep well
Sleep plays an important role in helping you consolidate your memories, so you can recall them down the road. Make getting enough sleep a priority. Most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep a day.
5. Eat a healthy diet
A healthy diet might be as good for your brain as it is for your heart. Eat fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Choose low-fat protein sources, such as fish, lean meat and skinless poultry. What you drink counts, too. Too much alcohol can lead to confusion and memory loss.
6. Include physical activity in your daily routine
Physical activity increases blood flow to your whole body, including your brain. This might help keep your memory sharp.
7. Manage chronic conditions
Follow your doctor's treatment recommendations for any chronic conditions, such as depression, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and kidney or thyroid problems. The better you take care of yourself, the better your memory is likely to be. In addition, review your medications with your doctor regularly. Various medications can affect memory.