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Memory Loss and Aging

How can one improve their memory? In the brain, when we gather and store information a new synapse or brain connection is created. In that particular pathway, we learned a telephone number or how to ride a bike. Thousands and thousands of these connections are created during your lifetime.

Short-term memory refers to information that we acquire for the moment. Maybe you are trying to remember a telephone number to dial it for car repairs. Next week, you probably won’t know that number anymore.

Long-term memory refers to information that we learn and want to remember. That includes people’s names, procedures at work, family telephone numbers and the stuff we learn in school (for many of us). Whenever we need it, we can search our mind and call upon those snippets of information.

When our memories begin to lose steam, it is a gradual process. The areas that are responsible for short-term and long-term memory suffer the ravages of time also. Memory loss may be the wrong term to use. You are still processing information but at a slower rate than you were before.

So how can you fight this process? Many of us don’t actively try to learn new things. In essence, our brains get lazy. To keep us from missing a trick, here are a few exercises you can perform to improve your memory.

* Write lists. When you go to the grocery store or run errands, write down what you are going to do. This encourages your brain to think about what you need to do. Also, the information is recalled to the forefront of your mind so there is less chance of forgetting it.

* Exercise on a regular basis. Exercise increases the oxygen intake in the body. You can increase your focus and the way that you process information. Instead of flying off the handle when a bad situation occurs, you will be more likely to think through your responses to trouble.

* Get sleep. During deep sleep, the body shuts off all non-vital functions in order to repair itself. Lack of sleep can lead to forgetfulness, that feeling of being scatterbrained. When the body is allowed the time it needs for renewal, your mind is fresh each morning.

* Neurobics is the new buzz word for activities to increase brain use. These can range from playing word games, number games or doing puzzles. Any activity that builds new pathways in the brain and uses ones you haven’t visited in a long time improves your memory.

The 60 Second Brain Game: When eyes and ears collide. Challenge your brain to best itself against the pressure of the clock. More fun than anything else you will do today.

Word Wanderer: Travel the road less taken by spelling your path to mystical castles and treasures in the sky. It’s Jack and the Beanstalk meets a crossword puzzle

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