Quite often, as we age, our memory starts to worsen and our brain is not as sharp, this is one of the most common worries of people as we get older.
We see this in the clinic very regularly, it would be one of the most common conversations heard, things regularly getting put down to a ‘bad memory’.
If you are noticing that your recall of simple things has definitely slowed down, then don’t worry, there are a couple of quick things you can do about it.
Forgetting someone’s name? What you ate for dinner the night before? Forgetting passwords for internet accounts? If this sounds familiar, don’t worry, you’re not alone.
Closely followed by a fear of losing independence, memory and concentration loss are two of our most common fears that are associated with ageing.
So why do we start to forget things as we get older?
This is a complex answer, but essentially, as we get older, the cells in our brain begin to get smaller, therefore affecting a huge number of things, memory included. However, neuroscientists have shown that a fair percentage of memory and concentration loss with age is associated with other mental conditions such as anxiety and stress.
This is combined with the fact that our brain is like a muscle, and as the common saying goes – “use it or lose it”. Unfortunately, as we age, we tend to do less physical and mental work, and the effects can be devastating on our memory.
So Nick, how can you reduce the memory loss and stay sharp?
Luckily there are many practical steps you can take, to slow a foggy memory down and keep your brain sharp and focused – I’m going to share a few of those with you today.
There are a number of very easy, practical things that you can do to slow down the decline – keep reading to find out more.
1. Exercise, Exercise, Exercise!
There have been hundreds of studies which repeatedly show that exercising regularly improves memory significantly!
Exercise increases blood flow to the brain, which results in sharper thinking and clear memories.
However, the thought of exercise can be daunting for a lot of people, therefore it is important to start with slow and gentle exercise, potentially short walks, and slowly build up your tolerance.
Before long, the short gentle walk can turn into a more intense pace, with further improvements in both your mental and physical well-being.
2. Water Is The Key
We get told all the time about the importance of drinking enough water during the day, and there are many good reasons for it! If you don’t drink enough, you can become dehydrated. And as well as causing pounding headaches, dehydration can affect your memory (something not a lot of us are aware of!).
Hydration (in the form of water) plays a critical role in nutrient delivery to the brain. Not only does dehydration cause headaches, but it also impairs concentration and reduces cognitive performance.
3. Put Your Brain Through A Workout & Keep Your Brain Sharp
This is where the ‘use it or lose it’ phrase comes in. There’s a reason why stores are filled with cognitive games because they keep your brain on its toes.
As the age-old adage goes – ‘use it or lose it’ – this applies to the brain as well.
There are lots of ways to get your ‘brain-training’ in, whether it be via crosswords or word finds, or even playing an instrument, all of these tools are linked with lowering the risk of dementia.
However, it is important to not just stick to the same thing over and over, your brain is a very adaptive piece of tissue, and it needs regular changes in stimulus in order for it to grow. So make sure you learn something new and challenge your brain each and every day.
4. Good Nutrition Is Vital
The amount of advice on diets on the internet is scary, so I won’t even begin to talk to you about this in any specific details, however, the benefits of a healthy diet are well known, however, did you know that it can also help keep your brain sharp and improve memory?
When you’re shopping next, fill your trolley with plenty of vegetables, different types of fruits, fresh poultry, fish and whole grain food and you’ll be filling your body and your brain with lots of healthy nutrients – this being one of the keys to a healthy brain.
There have been some studies which have shown that eating a healthy diet with a wide variety of vitamins and nutrients can lose your risk of Alzheimer’s by as much as 50%.
5. Are You Getting Enough Sleep?
Again, another important aspect of health, but it’s important for a reason! Making sure you get enough shut-eye is important for both your physical and mental health. If you don’t get enough sleep each night, in the short term it can affect the decisions you make and how well you learn and remember information.
Sleep is vital for a clear mind and adequate physical recovery. Your short-term memory can be affected as can your concentration if you are burning the candle at both ends.
Have you noticed that groggy feeling the following day after a late night? You can thank a lack of sleep for that!
Avoiding screens, like from your mobile/tablet 60 minutes prior to sleep, as well as reading a book for 30 minutes in bed can make a huge difference to your sleep and give you much more mental clarity the following day. You will notice how this quickly keeps your brain sharp!
So, there you have it!
As you can see, there are lots you can do to keep your brain healthy and reduce your chance of memory loss as you age. Hopefully, you feel motivated after reading the blog today to get started on living a more active healthy life.
- A healthy lifestyle is a key for a strong and clear brain as well as a solid memory.
- You can improve your memory with regular application to ‘brain training’
Start taking these steps today and you can upgrade your memory now and keep your brain sharp in the years to come.