Memory is essential in the lives of people. Not having the ability to remember or do so to a limited extent affects the quality of life. Having a good or bad memory depends on many factors: the level of stress, substance abuse, concentration ability, age, the usual diet or intellectual activity, among others. However, following a healthy lifestyle and making a few simple exercises help keep memory fit. This article explains how to do it.
Memory is a very necessary mental capacity as it makes a person knows who he is, who has lived, who has been linked … Old age does not have to be linked to their loss because the decline of aging itself is associated with its operation, not memory itself. Degeneration of basic cognitive processes such as attention, learning and memory, is one of the factors that give a greater sense of loss of autonomy for the elderly. Hence halt their advance has been become one of the key issues of concern today.
To keep the memory in good shape, it is essential to follow a pattern of healthy lifestyles. There are certain substances and conditions that are real enemies for memory:
- Alcohol: in high doses causes, long – term changes in the nervous system and causes cognitive impairment, such as Wernicke encephalopathy (brain damage in the thalamus and hypothalamus) and Korsakoff syndrome (permanent damage of areas of the brain involved with memory), diffuse brain damage and alcoholic dementia.
- Smoking: its harmful effects go beyond cardio-pulmonary disorders and are associated with an increased risk of impaired memory in middle age, since nicotine affects blood flow and decreased attention span and retention of information.
- Cannabis: produces alterations in short – term memory.
- Drugs: benzodiazepines (such as alprazolam and diazepam) may act on memorizing new information on semantic memory (general knowledge that are learned throughout life) or autobiographical events.
- Stress: has adverse effects on memory, even in small doses, can affect short – term memory of young people, with frequent lapses and forgetfulness.
- Poor night ‘s sleep: the brain needs adequate sleep and rest time to select and sort the memories and knowledge gained during the day. If the rest time is decreased, this consolidation is altered.
- Inadequate food: the shortcomings of omega-3 and some vitamins, such as B-12, are associated with cognitive impairment. Also have high levels of harmful cholesterol causes poor blood flow to the brain.
By avoiding this list of modifiable risk factors which depend on the lifestyle of a person – while it may not prevent memory loss, you can minimize your risk and slow their appearance.
Memory training in six steps
It is important to train memory every day, no matter how old you are, but, above all, from age 65, age at which the brain loses plasticity and flexibility, aspects that influence memory storage. To keep the memory as long as possible, here are some simple tips:
1. Play board, strategy or mental arithmetic games, or crossword puzzles, it helps keep your mind fit, as intellectual work (read, write, understand …) stimulates and preserves the memory. Even older people benefit from learning to use a computer for the first time since the learning process which has to be at least 15 minutes a day – despite being slower than in youth, is very positive to keep the mind active and to work memory.
2. Change routines prevents the brain automation processes that restrict its effectiveness. It’s as easy as going by changing usual routes used to go to work, to see children or grandchildren or to the market.
3. Train both cerebral hemispheres. This is achieved by trying to perform some tasks with the non-dominant hand, which can be as simple as cleaning or using the mouse. Older people may try to change the wristwatch or vary any site object to look after.
4. Socialize, better outdoors and in groups. An active and sociable life is a great workout because it allows you to receive stimuli constantly and try and contrast information on various topics that comes from others. Civic centers for group activities or hikers or travel groups, is very good choice for seniors.
5. Get enough sleep and enough hours. The brain uses the hours of sleep to store and classify the information obtained during the day. Helps maintain a sleep schedule and routines for getting in and out, no bed without dinner or after a heavy dinner, and exciting drinks. Although aging produces sleep disturbances, it would be sleeping around seven hours per day. In addition to sleep, it is good to practice relaxation if immersed in a time of stress, because it is the greatest enemy of memory.
6. Practice exercise three times a week, it improves blood flow in the brain and also improves cognitive functions. Walking, cycling or swimming are very beneficial cardiovascular activities, low impact, adaptable to the conditions of everybody and recommended for old people. Also Pilates classes, yoga or fitness training for seniors are a good choice.