MIND CON­TROL

Best Health - - REMEDY -

Be the mas­ter of your own mem­ory in 6 sim­ple steps

EX­ER­CISE

The num­ber one tip for main­tain­ing your mem­ory? Ex­er­cise. It may seem that your mus­cles are a long way from your brain, but stud­ies have shown that ex­er­cise im­proves short- and longterm mem­ory, aid­ing the de­vel­op­ment of new brain cells and in­creas­ing the size of the hip­pocam­pus, where ver­bal mem­ory and learn­ing hap­pen. One study even sug­gested that if you want to re­mem­ber some­thing, you should ex­er­cise four hours af­ter learn­ing it.

LEARN A NEW LAN­GUAGE

Stud­ies have shown that peo­ple who speak more than one lan­guage have an added layer of pro­tec­tion against mem­ory loss. Feld­man Bar­rett says that ex­ert­ing your­self pe­ri­od­i­cally in a chal­leng­ing task — whether it’s ex­er­cis­ing past the point of men­tal com­fort or learn­ing some­thing com­plex that causes you to push your­self — may help your brain build new con­nec­tions and also main­tain the health of the old ones.

PICK UP A MU­SI­CAL IN­STRU­MENT

A study from Bay­crest Health Sciences pub­lished ear­lier this year found that when older adults were given the task of repli­cat­ing a sound on a mu­si­cal in­stru­ment, it al­tered their brain waves to im­prove their lis­ten­ing skills. Ev­i­dence shows that learn­ing a mu­si­cal in­stru­ment can help to re­wire the brain.

EAT A BALANCED DIET

Rylett says re­searchers are be­gin­ning to learn that in­sulin re­sis­tance and type 2 di­a­betes are con­nected to an in­creased risk for Alzheimer’s dis­ease, so it’s im­por­tant to keep blood sugar sta­ble. Tak­ing care of your heart health with a diet rich in fi­bre and healthy fats is also key. Some cases of de­men­tia are caused by changes in blood ves­sels that pre­vent proper blood flow to the mind, de­priv­ing it of nec­es­sary nu­tri­ents and oxy­gen. The symp­toms of this vas­cu­lar cog­ni­tive im­pair­ment can look a lot like Alzheimer’s.

SEEK HELP FOR DE­PRES­SION

Kha­tri say peo­ple who ex­pe­ri­ence un­treated de­pres­sion in midlife have twice the risk of de­vel­op­ing de­men­tia later in life, com­pared to those who do not share that un­treated his­tory. While de­pres­sion and anx­i­ety may seem in­sur­mount­able, she stresses that there are many treat­ments that can help. De­men­tia, on the other hand, is still in­cur­able.

GIVE YOUR BRAIN TIME TO REST

Re­searchers are still learn­ing about what’s go­ing on in our minds while we snooze, but they do know that mem­o­ries are strength­ened overnight. Ev­i­dence shows that the brain re­plays in­for­ma­tion and ex­pe­ri­ences while we slum­ber, and trans­fers mem­o­ries from short-term to long-term stor­age. That means that stay­ing up un­til the wee hours to learn a pre­sen­ta­tion won’t get you ahead. Fight­ing sleep means fight­ing mem­ory.

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