Welcome to Where Are My Keys Part 2. Following on from Part 1, this week you will find more Really Useful tips to help improve our memory or at least not forget so many things. Testing out different techniques you will be able to see which ones work best for you.
Exercise To Improve Memory
Exercise seems to play such an important part in every aspect of our general health and well being including keeping our brain and memory is great shape. Our brains need a never ending supply of oxygen, glucose and nutrients and this supply is delivered by blood. The circulation of blood through the brain also removes, toxins, waste products. Exercise increases our circulation bringing more of the needed elements and removing more of the unwanted ones.
Exercise increases the number of brain cells in the hippocampus (the memory area of our brain). However, this does not necessarily mean having to sweat it out in a gym 5 times a week. Walking is one of the best forms of exercise for healthy brain.
How often have you heard people say “I’m going for a walk to clear my head” or words to that effect. Walking does clear the mind, it takes us away from distractions, allows the mind to slow down, sort through the jumble of daily life that is usually whirling around in it. Just two hours of walking per week can increase the size of your hippocampus by up to 2%.
“Walk the dog every day, even if you don’t have one!”Walk the dog every day, even if you don't have one! Click To Tweet
Tai Chi is an ancient martial art that involves learning controlled breathing combined with slow, precise and graceful movements that flow together to form a graceful dance. It is low impact and you can take part at any fitness level and at any age. It is considered to be “Meditation in Motion” helping to promote inner calmness, improved balance, muscle control and circulation.
A key factor is it’s brain boosting powers. Practising Tai Chi can increase the size of the hippocampus (the memory area of our brain) as shown in numerous studies around the world including this one.Tai Chi can help boost your brain function Click To Tweet
You can take part in Tai Chi anywhere, it’s such a versatile activity. You can do it alone, in a group, in a class, outdoors and indoors and there is no equipment necessary. Wear comfortable cloths, flat shoes, take a deep breath and make a start.
This is an excellent video on the Ten beginner Tai Chi moves to get you started!
If you are looking for something more sweat inducing than walking or Tai Chi you could try HIIT (high intensity interval training). The variety of challenges your brain faces participating in this form of exercise keeps your brain healthy. You can learn all about HIIT here. I wouldn’t throw yourself into this form of exercise without fully researching how it can work for you and your current fitness levels.
Techniques for Remembering
- Chunking – An especially good technique for remembering numbers, groups of 3 or 4 works very well. For example if you need to remember a mobile phone number such as 17653395080. (I made that up! Don’t call it!) Break it up into 3 pieces – 1765 then 3395 then 080.
- Say it out loud – Repeat a name, instruction, address, dates or task out loud but several times not just once.
- Write it down – “the pen is mightier than the keyboard” there are studies to show that using a pen and paper is a better way to remember things
- Mnemonics – I am sure, like me, you all used this technique at school. I remember learning the Colours of the Rainbow (Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain) and the fate of the wives of Henry 8th (Divorced, Beheaded, Died, Divorced, Beheaded, Survived). Try making up and learning your own to assist with remembering with things such as a short shopping list. The optimum number of words you can realistically use this technique for is around 7 – 9.
We all have times during the day when our mind wanders from the task in hand, we lose concentration, forget where we are up to or forget what we should be doing even if that task is at another point in the day. Mindfulness training has been proven to improve our memory capacity.
Mindfulness training teaches us how to stop, relax, clear our thoughts, concentrate on the now, become aware of what your current thoughts are and how you are feeling. Breathing techniques and yoga can be included as part of the training. This is an interesting beginners guide to Mindfulness Training and it’s origins. I am looking for an online course on this, I’ll keep you posted!
There are lots of books on Tai Chi in this weeks little shop.
So, now I am off out for a coffee, but, Where are my keys??