Do you feel like you’ve been forgetting more things lately? Many people think that mild memory loss is a natural part of aging. While that’s somewhat true, memory loss isn’t an inevitable part of aging. There are steps you can take to maintain and improve your memory. Of course, if memory loss affects your ability to complete your daily activities, it could be more than just aging. Make an appointment with your doctor to discuss memory loss to rule out serious problems.
Perhaps we associate memory loss with old age because people tend to become less social as they age. Missing opportunities to interact with family and friends increases depression and stress, which can affect your memory. This naturally happens as people age and lose loved ones to death and have fewer social contacts after retirement. But with the social isolation that resulted from the global pandemic, it has really affected a lot of people in recent years. Getting together with friends and loved ones is important, even if you have to make those meetings virtual.
One of the most important things you can do to improve your memory is to stay active. Physical activity improves blood flow to your brain and has been proven to help preserve memory. You should aim for 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous to moderate aerobic activity. You don’t have to be a gym rat to do this kind of exercise — you can reap the same mental benefits from taking several brisk walks throughout the day.
Choose mentally stimulating activities. Crossword puzzles, logic puzzles and challenging games like bridge and chess are said to help slow down memory loss. Also remember that it is never too late to learn. Pick up something you’ve always wanted to learn, such as a foreign language or how to play an instrument. You don’t have to master it to reap the benefits.
Gets enough sleep. Doctors have been stressing the importance of sleep for years. Sleep can help prevent many diseases, but it is especially important for memories. We think sleep is when your body consolidates memories, so if your sleep is disrupted it can affect your memory.
Choose a healthy diet. Low-fat sources of protein and plenty of fruits, veggies, and whole grains aren’t just great for your body, they’re great for your mind, too. You also want to limit your use of alcohol and recreational drugs, as they can affect your memory.
Focus on your health. Do you have any underlying health problems? If so, talk to your doctor about how to treat it. Overall health effects other facets of memory. Also tell your doctor about any side effects of the medications you are taking. Some medications for chronic conditions can affect memory. Talk to your doctor about whether there are alternatives to your current prescriptions.