Have you ever been to a room and forgotten why you are there? Do not worry; we have all been there once in a while. This condition is called Memory lapse, an inability to remember an event for a while for various reasons.
Situations like these commonly occur when an individual deals with an injury, disease, or a usual memory disorder. However, the good part is that cognitive exercises help improve memory. Yes, you read that right. Our body and brain need exercises to reduce the risks of memory loss.
What are the best brain exercises to improve memory? 15 Exercises
Researchers suggest that how you shape and sharpen your mental abilities has much to do with your memory, focus, and intelligence. Here are some cognitive exercises that will help you sharpen your memory.
- Jigsaw Puzzle Delight: Engaging the mind in jigsaw puzzles is an excellent way to improve memory. However, Jigsaw may have some seemingly simple pieces, but engaging with them challenges and exercises the brain excellently. Dealing with the hurdle of the jigsaw requires an improved focus, memory recall, and pattern recognition, all of which help strengthen cognitive abilities.
- Build your Vocabulary: Vocabulary building is a journey that involves various regions of the brain. This challenge of learning new words may seem like an easy task, but this activity stimulates the brain, particularly auditory and visual processing. This cognitive exercise also helps to encourage new neural connections.
- Association Technique: Creating mental associations or vivid stories helps connect dots, old with new. This technique leverages the power of association and helps information stick to your memory.
- Visual Symphony Technique: Painting a picture or scenario helps in remembering it. Visualization involves creating different images in the mind related to the information you want to remember and recall. Doing so helps tap the visual memory in the brain, making retrieving the stored information easier.
- Rhythmic Review and Repetition Ritual: Regularly revisit and repeat the information that you want longer in your memory. The process of repetition reinforces neural pathways, solidifying grasp in long-term memory function.
- Practice Hand-Eye Coordination: Try to refine your hand-eye coordination through common activities like playing musical instruments, typing, juggling, playing ball games, etc. Or, engage in fine motor skill exercises to enhance coordination promote memory, and overall brain functioning.
- Sensory Symphony Excercise: For improved memory, giving all your senses and brain a good workout is important. Try to engage all your senses in a learning process; the more senses are involved, the stronger memory imprint it will create.
- Skillful Teaching and Learning Exchange: Every other while, try learning a new skill or teaching a new skill to someone else. This act of teaching and learning stimulates various brain regions, improving concentration and fostering cognitive growth.
- Tai Chai Tranquility Pursuit: Embrace Tai Chai, an internal Chinese martial art that enhances physical well-being, mental clarity, and concentration.
- Mindful Meditation: Between the constant process of learning and recalling, it is important to pause serenely with mindful meditation. Like the rest of our body, our mind must also clear our thoughts. Doing so not only reduces stress but also improves overall cognitive functioning. Researchers suggest that meditating regularly can improve attention span and improving overall memory.
- Language Voyage: The journey of learning a new language has proven cognitive benefits. The art of being bilingual leads to better creativity improves visual-spatial skills, challenges the brain, and enhances overall memory capabilities.
- Physical Harmony Workout: The benefits of physical exercise/ workout can never be summed up in one sentence. Engaging in an hour of sweaty efforts increases blood flow to the brain, promotes new neuron growth, refreshes mood, and improves overall cognitive functioning.
- Social Interaction: Socializing and engaging with others is extremely important for humans and animals. Engaging in meaningful interactions stimulates different parts of your brain and helps improve memory. Sharing experiences helps save memories for longer.
- Mathematical Mind Games: Indulging in mathematical mind games boasts logical thinking, calculative progress, and memory recall. Indulging in a session or math can be an effective workout for your brain.
- A Sweet and Sound Sleep: Sound sleep is important for memory consolidation. This restful phase strengthens the brain’s connections and helps solidify all the memories processed during the day.
Best Foods to Boost Your Brain and Memory
Including certain foods in your diet may positively impact memory building and overall brain functioning. Here’s a list of food items and how they affect memory:
- Fatty fish are a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids, a compound essential for improving cognitive functioning, brain cell building, and memory.
- Blueberries are packed with antioxidants linked to improving memory and cognitive performance.
- Another highly antioxidant food, ‘Broccoli’, supports brain health and offers neuroprotective effects.
- Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of copper, zinc, magnesium, iron, and other nutrients essential for brain function.
- Dark chocolates, especially the ones rich in caffeine, antioxidants, and flavonoids, may help enhance memory and improve cognitive function. Some studies claim that consuming dark chocolate regularly may increase blood flow to the brain.
- Nuts and seeds like almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds, and chia seeds can support brain functioning.
- Eggs are a rich source of choline, a nutrient related to acetylcholine (neurotransmitter). Consuming eggs regularly may help in mood and memory regulation.
- Oranges and other citrus fruits, high in Vitamin C, may help prevent mental decline.
- Tumeric, particularly its compound curcumin, crosses the blood-brain barrier, thus offering neuroprotective effects.
- Rosemary has been associated with memory enhancement, and its aroma may improve concentration.
Overall, this journey towards improving memory (and other brain functioning) through cognitive exercises ends. Explore the diverse activities mentioned in the article above and mindfully engage your brain and body. All of these exercises stimulate different regions of the brain, thus reinforcing the pathway for an effective memory recall.
So, if you want to keep your brain healthy for a long, take these small steps immediately. Or, if confused about why your memory isn’t assisting you like before, consult a healthcare professional to rule out any underlying medical concern.
- Brain basics: Understanding sleep. (2019).
- Jonaitis, E., et al. (2013). Cognitive activities and cognitive performance in middle-aged adults at risk for Alzheimer’s disease.