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As you age, and especially after age 50, you begin to lose muscle mass and function. This process, known as sarcopenia, speeds up significantly around age 75. Unfortunately, the same kind of muscle atrophy affects the brain. But don’t lose hope! Physical exercise can help you retain muscle mass later in life, and mental exercise can do the same for your brain. It doesn’t require much to practice a few brain exercises to boost memory.

Your Guide to Memory Boosting Exercises: Start Small

It doesn’t take much to stimulate different areas of your brain. Something as small as imagining a word and then spelling it out can boost your brain cells, sharpen motor skills, and improve decision-making abilities. Here are 5 exercises to boost memory:

1) Test Your Recall

Testing your recall is a great way to challenge yourself. This can be something as simple as making a grocery list, then flipping it over. Do something else for an hour or so and then try to remember every item on the list. This can also be done with other people. Each person takes a turn looking at a picture in a magazine for 1 minute. Then the magazine is closed and they must try to remember all the items from the picture. If you know that there was a book on the table, try to recall the color of the book or the shape of the table.

2) Learn Something New

Research shows that learning a new skill activates memory and improves cognitive functioning. Learn a foreign language, join a quilting group, or read music. Taking a group class improves memory and provides socialization, vital for emotional wellness. A cooking or music class will activate your senses, providing even more stimulation. Most memory care facilities offer engaging activities for residents, usually based on their interests and hobbies.

3) Read

Reading is a valuable mental exercise. It improves concentration and comprehension and encourages the reader to use their imagination. Commit to read every day, and learn a new word every week. Try to memorize passages you find especially moving. Occasionally mix things up and choose something you don’t normally read, such as poetry or short stories.

4) Write

Equally important to memory is writing. Writing something down commits it to memory better than typing it on a computer. Writing also offers the opportunity to challenge yourself. For example, try to write with your non-dominant hand.

5) Play a Game

It’s hard to believe that something as simple as a crossword puzzle or word search helps improve memory, but it’s true! Commit to playing games whenever the opportunity presents itself. Learn how to play chess, or teach a friend how to play cards. Even a quiet game of solitaire can improve brain function!

Exercise Your Mind

The brain is no different than any other organ or muscle in your body. The more you exercise, the better it will function. Left neglected, it will rapidly decline. Get started with these 5 incredible memory boosting exercises.

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