As you get older, you will likely experience mental problems, including memory loss. Before that happens to you, you can develop better habits to ensure better memory as you age. Passive activities that don’t require thought or movement can hinder your ability to recall things, so those are the habits to target first.
Social media is one of the worst passive activities, but avoiding physical activities is high on the list, too. Aim to do activities that engage all of your senses simultaneously because that’s when your brain is the most stimulated. Replace your sedentary habits and replace them with ones that are beneficial for brain health.
It’s tempting to live a stress-free life, doing the same things each day. However, living this way is detrimental for your brain because it doesn’t require any brain stimulation. When there’s no brain stimulation, it causes your brain to become lazy and slow, interfering with your cognitive recall abilities.
Thirteen Habits for Better Memory
The longer your mindless habits go on, the worse the effects become on your brain as you age. If you want better memory as you age, implement these habits to make a difference. As you change your habits, you’ll experience improved brain functioning and better memory.
1. Listen to Music
Studies show that listening to music can help improve your memory as you age. Music triggers areas of the brain that affect memory and other aspects of cognition. Hearing certain songs can help people retrieve stored memories, and it helps them formulate new memories.
Additionally, if you can play an instrument, doing so can also help improve your memory. If you don’t know how to play an instrument, consider learning one or joining a choir. Learning something new that involves music is one of the best ways to improve long-term memory.
2. Do Math in Your Head
Doing math in your head without using any tools can quickly improve your memory. Don’t use a calculator, pencil, paper, or a computer to figure out the answer. Doing math in your head helps stimulate your brain and gets you thinking in different ways that help improve your memory recall.
One idea is to do math problems in your head as you exercise or walk around. Another idea is to try to count money without using any tools.
3. Do a Taste Bud Challenge Every Time You Eat
One of the best ways to stimulate your mind is by honing in on your senses. When you eat, you often use all of your reasons simultaneously. Take the experience one step further by doing a taste bud challenge every time you eat something you didn’t cook.
A taste bud challenge is easy and doesn’t require anything special. As you eat, try to identify the individual ingredients in the dish. Focus on herbs and spices, and see how many you can come up with.
4. Silently Repeat What People Say
When people are speaking, challenge yourself to repeat what they say in your mind. Don’t speak out loud, but keep your repetition going until the person finishes talking. When you do this, you train your brain to focus on and remember what people are saying to you.
Plus, as you repeat what people say in your mind, it boosts your overall brain function. This habit works because you can remember and recall information just by asking your brain to do so.
5. Exercise Regularly (Besides Better Health, You Might Enjoy Better Memory)
Physical activity is essential for improving your ability to withstand neurological damage from aging. This neurological damage contributes to memory loss, making exercise a leading contributor to healthy brain function.
Additionally, physical exercise improves circulation to the brain, ensuring oxygen and nutrient delivery. It also reduces stress, helping you focus on your present environment and develop a better memory.
Another reason that regular exercise leads to a better memory is that it gives you time to think freely. When exercising, you give your brain a chance to process and silently recite things you heard. You can use your exercise time as a chance to practice number and word games in your mind.
6. Use Your Non-Dominant Hand
Switching hands to do daily tasks can help stimulate the brain and improve memory. Use your weaker hand to do basic tasks like eating, brushing your teeth, or doing easy chores. As you challenge yourself, your brain activity continually increases.
7. Read Out Loud
Reading books aloud engages your imagination in a different way than reading silently. It’s also more engaging than listening to audiobooks or hearing someone else read.
You can read out loud to yourself, focusing on the words that you hear yourself saying. Another option is to read out loud with a loved one, taking turns reading and listening.
8. Try New Things and Push Yourself
By developing a habit of trying new things, you’ll force your brain to think differently. Plus, it’ll use different neurotransmitters and neurons in your brain, improving your overall brain function.
Take up a new hobby, try a new type of food, travel to a new location, or take a class. No matter what you choose to do, you’ll benefit from the experience if it’s new for you. You can also push yourself to master or develop a new skill. If you already know the basics, challenge yourself to get out of your comfort zone and do more.
9. Take a Technology Break for Better Memory
When you’re overly dependent on technology, it disrupts your ability to recall things and think critically. Technology leads to a sedentary lifestyle as you use your devices for everything from basic math to spelling. Many people also use it to travel, always leaving the location services and maps turned on.
If you notice that you use your electronics for everything, consider taking a technology break. Stop using your devices for basic things that you can figure out on your own. Plus, try to find locations using your sense of direction rather than always following a GPS.
10. Expand Your Social Connections
Spending all of your time with the same people can hinder your brain’s abilities. Work on expanding your social networks to improve your memory and stimulate your brain.
While spending time with people like you is comforting, you should find some people who aren’t like you at all. By doing so, you slow age-related memory loss and stimulate your mental growth.
11. Practice Meditation
Meditation provides soothing benefits to your brain, eliminating unhelpful thoughts and helping you quiet your mind. As it alleviates stress and improves your mood, it enhances your memory and can reverse brain deterioration. Research indicates that meditation can improve short-term memory for people of all ages.
Additionally, studies show that meditating can increase the gray matter in your brain. The gray matter declines as you age, negatively impacting memory and overall brain function. By increasing the gray matter, you protect yourself from those age-related issues.
12. Better Memory Make Someone a Lifelong Learner
If you never stop learning, your brain will always have stimulation. To prevent age-related memory loss, make a conscious effort to be a life-long learner. You don’t have to waste time learning things you aren’t interested in.
Find a class that is interesting to you and focus on learning as much as you can. You can also find online courses, borrow books from the library, or ask someone to teach you something they know. No matter how you prefer to learn, continue learning and developing your mind despite how old, you get.
13. Consume Healthy Foods and Drinks
Your diet plays a significant role in your brain health. The things you consume affect your mind just as much as they affect your body. Start by eating less added sugar because it’s one of the leading causes of memory decline.
Another way to improve your mental health through your diet is by drinking less alcohol. Alcoholic beverages can negatively impact your memory by altering your brain and causing neurotoxic effects. An alcoholic drink is fine occasionally, but avoid making a habit of it.
Cutting down on refined carbs is another way to boost your memory. Limit the amount of cake, cereal, white rice, cookies, and white bread you regularly consume. These foods have high glycemic indexes, leading to cognitive decline and decreased function.
Additionally, consuming anti-inflammatory foods can boost your memory. These foods reduce oxidative stress, decreasing your risk of developing memory issues.
Final Thoughts on Habits for Better Memory as You Age
As you age, your memory recall may decline over time. However, implementing some of these habits can help you develop a better memory and maintain it as you get older. Everyone knows that taking care of your body is essential to good health, but so is taking care of your mind.
These tips will help you recall things better, even as you get older. Making one or two changes at a time is your best option, and then implementing a new habit as time goes on will further the challenge. If you continue adding in new beneficial practices, you will experience improved health and better memory.