6 simple steps to keep your mind sharp at any age (Harvard Health Beat Excerpts)

Health Care 34 Comments

1. Keep learning: Challenging your brain with mental exercise is believed to activate processes that help maintain individual brain cells and stimulate communication among them.

2. Use all your senses: The more senses you use in learning something, the more of your brain will be involved in retaining the memory.

3. Believe in yourself: Middle–aged and older learners do worse on memory tasks when they’re exposed to negative stereotypes about aging and memory, and better when the messages are positive about memory preservation into old age.

4. Prioritize your brain use: Take advantage of calendars and planners, maps, shopping lists, file folders, and address books to keep routine information accessible. Designate a place at home for your glasses, purse, keys, and other items you use often.

5. Repeat what you want to know: When you want to remember something you’ve just heard, read, or thought about, repeat it out loud or write it down.

6. Space it out: Repetition is most potent as a learning tool when it’s properly timed. It’s best not to repeat something many times in a short period, as if you were cramming for an exam. Instead, re–study the essentials after increasingly longer periods of time — once an hour, then every few hours, then every day. Spacing out periods of study is particularly valuable when you are trying to master complicated information, such as the details of a new work assignment.

Dr KK Aggarwal
Editor in Chief