Your memory is one of the most precious things you possess, and one of the most important tools in any profession.
Think about it: in order to be good at your job, you have to remember everything you’ve learned about your profession, every skill you’ve honed, and all the years of prior work you’ve done. To enjoy life, you have to remember all the good times that outweigh any bad times you encounter.
As we age, our memory tends to degrade. We lose information that we stored, often because there is SO MUCH information (50+ years’ worth of memories). Our brains also lose plasticity  when we stop exercising them by learning new skills or language. With less plasticity, our ability to store new information and recall stored information decreases.
Disease can also lead to degradation of memory. Conditions like Alzheimer’s can impair your memory and make it difficult to recall even simple details. Many health conditions contribute to accelerated brain deterioration, decreased blood flow, and build-up of amyloid plaques.
The result: your memory suffers.
But all is not hopeless! There are a lot of things you can do to train your memory and keep your mind fresh and healthy even as you age. Below, we’ve compiled a list of the best solutions to help you protect your memory and train your mind:
Live a healthy life. If you don’t live healthy, you’re going to accelerate the risk of brain deterioration. Smoking and overdrinking can both cause microscopic damage to your brain, as well as speed up the degradation of your brain cells and brain function. Eating a lot of high-fat foods, gaining weight, and allowing your blood sugar, blood pressure, and blood cholesterol levels to get too high can also accelerate any deterioration to your brain.
The key to keeping your brain—and memory—sharp is to live as healthy a life as possible. That means:
Eating healthy, brain-nourishing fatty unsaturated fatty acids, such as Omega-3s.
Limiting unhealthy foods that could elevate your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, or blood sugar levels.
Reducing your alcohol intake.
Exercising at least 5 days per week
Living a healthy, active life will contribute to a healthier, better-functioning brain
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Exercise your brain. Your brain needs continuous exercise in order to stay sharp and active, to avoid losing its plasticity. To exercise your brain, you need to challenge yourself by:
Absorbing new information. New information forces your brain to stretch, expand, and reorganize what’s already stored to make more space to remember what you’re learning.
Demanding your full attention. Good brain exercise requires your full attention, demanding some high mental effort on your part.
Challenge your brain. Do the crossword puzzle. Solve everyday mathematical problems in your head WITHOUT using your calculator or smartphone. Memorize maps and plan your routes without relying on GPS. The list of brain-challenges are endless, but they will all help to increase problem-solving abilities and keep your brain flexible and adaptable.
Building on existing skills. The more you learn about any one topic, the more your brain will expand in that direction. There is always something more you can do, some new direction to take, some new level of difficulty to try and reach. Pushing yourself to go farther and do more will always be good for your brain.
What kind of activities fall under “good brain exercise”? Try learning a new language, picking up a musical instrument, dancing, juggling, playing cheese, crafting, building something, or engaging in a new sport. Anything that forces you to work harder on a mental level will work .
Use music. Music has been proven to help improve your memory in a fascinating way. As one study  explained, “because emotions enhance memory processes and music evokes strong emotions, music could be involved in forming memories, either about pieces of music or about episodes and information associated with particular music.”
If you’re trying to learn something new, use music to help it stick in your brain. If you’re trying to recall a previously stored memory, use music to help you pull it up from your memory banks.
Try Cranial Osteopathy. Cranial Osteopathy is a form of treatment involving massage and manipulation of the tissues and bones of your skull, with the goal of improving not only brain function, but reducing health problems like asthma, cerebral palsy, and cancer .
Research on its effectiveness is limited, but in theory, the physical manipulations are believed to “normalize the rhythm of your cerebrospinal fluid”. This is supposed to aid in the curing of a number of diseases and improving brain function. If nothing else, it can help to relax you, which is known to improve your ability to recall information buried deep in your memory banks.
It’s vital that you protect your memory as you age, and you do by exercising your brain and keeping your mental faculties sharp. Use the information above to help guide you to the right brain-training, memory-boosting activities that you can engage in for the rest of your long and active life.
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