Where did I put my keys? Or, where did I park my car? For most people, these questions probably sound more than vaguely familiar. That is because aging normally involves a certain degree of memory loss. Over the course of our lives—starting in our 20s—we lose brain cells, a few at a time, causing a normal decline in the brain’s ability to remember.
We can take an active role in keeping our minds sharp and slowing memory loss. Eating right provides valuable nutrients and exercising improves circulation to the brain. Reading, playing cards, learning new skills, doing puzzles and brain teasers, maintaining an active social life and getting adequate rest also help maintain a fit brain.
The American Academy of Family Physicians offers tips to help your memory stay sharp:
- Repeat names when you first meet people
- Put important things, such as keys, in the same place every time
- Keep lists and a detailed calendar
- Make associations, such as using landmarks to help you find places
- Follow a routine
- Run through the ABC’s in your head to help think of words you are having trouble remembering. “Hearing” the first letter of a word may jog your memory.
- Exercise your mind and body