FAQ

Memory Loss: 22 Exercises to Improve Memory and Cognition

Memory loss can easily cause worry. The brain is the most complex organ in the body. It regulates multiple bodily functions, interprets incoming sensory information and processes our emotions. It is also the seat of memory, intelligence and creativity. Although the brain gets plenty of exercise every day, certain activities can help boost brain function and connectivity. This may help protect the brain against age-related degeneration.

The brain is always active, even during sleep. However, some activities may involve him in new ways. Which can lead to improvements in memory, cognitive functions or creativity.

22 exercises to boost memory, cognition and creativity

1. Meditation

Meditation generally involves focusing your attention in a calm and controlled way. Meditation can have multiple benefits for the brain and body.
Research suggests that meditation may benefit the brain by slowing brain aging and increasing the brain’s ability to process information.

2. View more

Visualization involves forming a mental image to represent information. The mental image can be in the form of animated images or scenes.
A 2018 study notes that visualization helps organize information and make appropriate decisions. One can practice visualization in their daily life. For example, before going shopping, we can visualize how they will get to and from the grocery store, and imagine what they will buy once there. The main thing is to imagine the scenes vividly and as detailed as possible.

3. Play games

Card games or board games can be a fun way to socialize or pass the time. These activities can also benefit the brain. A 2017 study linked playing games to a lower risk of cognitive impairment in older adults.

4. Play smart card games

Flash card games test short-term memory and a person’s ability to remember patterns. They are a simple and fun way to engage the brain and activate areas related to recognizing and memorizing patterns.

5. Practice crossword puzzles

Crossword puzzles are a popular activity that can stimulate the brain. An older study, from 2011, notes that crossword puzzles may delay the onset of memory decline in people with preclinical dementia.

6. Make a puzzle

Completing a puzzle can be a great way to pass the time and can also benefit the brain. A 2018 study showed that puzzles activate many cognitive functions, including:
– Perception
– mental rotation
– working memory
– reasoning
The study concluded that doing puzzles regularly and throughout life can protect against the effects of brain aging.

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7. Play Sudoku

Number puzzles, like sudoku, can be a fun way to challenge the brain. They may also improve cognitive functions in some people.
A 2019 study of adults aged 50 to 93 showed that those who practiced number puzzles more frequently tended to have better cognitive function.

8. Play chess

A 2016 meta-analysis notes that chess and other cognitive leisure activities can lead to improvements:
– Memory
– executive functioning, i.e. the ability to monitor and adapt behavior in order to achieve set goals
– information processing speed

9. Play checkers

A 2015 study found a link between playing checkers or other cognition-boosting games and larger brain volume and better markers of cognitive health in people at risk for Alzheimer’s disease. .

10. Play video games

A 2015 review notes that certain types of video games, such as action, puzzle, and strategy games, could lead to improvements in the following areas:

– Warning
– problem solving
– cognitive flexibility

11. Socialization

Enjoying the company of friends can be a mentally engaging leisure activity and can help preserve cognitive function. A 2019 study showed that people with more frequent social contact were less likely to experience cognitive decline and suffer from dementia.
Some social activities that can help stimulate the brain include:

– have discussions
– to play games
– participation in social sports

12. Learn New Skills

Learning new skills engages the brain in different ways and can help improve brain function.
A 2014 study of older adults found that learning a new cognitively demanding skill, such as photography, improved memory function.

13. Increase your personal vocabulary

Increasing your vocabulary is a great way to expand your knowledge while exercising your brain.
An easy way to increase your vocabulary is to read a book or watch a TV show and write down words that are unfamiliar to you. One can then use a dictionary to look up the meaning of the word and find ways to use it in a sentence.

14. Learn a new language

“Bilingualism” refers to the ability to speak two languages. A 2019 study notes that bilingualism increases and strengthens connectivity between different areas of the brain. The researchers propose that this increased connectivity may play a role in delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

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15. Listen to music

A 2018 study published in Brain Sciences showed that listening to music a person enjoys engages and connects different parts of the brain.
The researchers propose that this may lead to improved cognitive functions and general well-being.

16. Learn a musical instrument

Learning an instrument exercises the parts of the brain that are responsible for coordination.
According to a 2014 study, playing an instrument may promote cognitive development in a young brain and help protect against cognitive impairment in an aging brain.

17. Indulge in hobbies

Picking up a new hobby can be mentally stimulating and exercise the brain in new ways.
Hobbies that require coordination or dexterity will activate a person’s motor skills. These hobbies may include:

– knitting
– embroidery
– design
– paint
– to dance
– learning a musical instrument

18. Exercise regularly

Regular physical exercise is good for the brain and the body. The authors of a 2019 study note that exercise improves the following aspects of brain health:

– Memory
– cognition
– engine coordination

19. Dancing

Physical exercise has beneficial effects on the following aspects of cognitive health:
– Memory
– planning
– organization
Dancing is a form of exercise that can also engage areas of the brain involved in rhythm and balance.

20. Exercise

Some sports are both physically and mentally demanding. Some require a series of cognitive skills, such as

– sustained attention
– planning
– multitasking
– the ability to adapt quickly to changing situations
A 2019 study notes that elite athletes who play high-demand sports tend to have better attention and faster information processing speed.

21. Practice tai chi

Tai chi is a form of physical exercise that involves gentle body movement, rhythmic breathing, and meditation. A 2019 study compared brain function and connectivity between tai chi practitioners and non-practitioners. The researchers found that tai chi practitioners had improved connectivity between different regions of their brains. They proposed that it could improve cognition and decrease the rate of memory loss.

22. Sleep

Although not necessarily active exercise, sleep is crucial for the brain and the body.
Most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep each night, although many people get less than they need.

A 2015 study notes that sleep has been proven to work:

– stimulate memory
– reduce mental fatigue
– regulate metabolism

So, making sure you get enough sleep each night is an important step in maintaining a healthy brain.

Boost your memory to prevent brain aging

Brain exercises can be as simple as actively engaging the brain in daily tasks. Others are targeted brain exercises specifically designed to improve memory, cognition, or creativity. Brain exercise can help improve brain function and strengthen connectivity between different areas. This may help protect the brain against age-related degeneration.
People are likely to differ in terms of which brain exercises they find most enjoyable. It may be a good idea to try a variety of brain training activities at first and stick to the ones that provide the most pleasure or reward.

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Sources

Balbag, MA, et al. (2014). Playing a musical instrument as a protective factor against dementia and cognitive impairment: A population-based twin study.

Brain basics: Understanding sleep. (2019).

Brooker, H., et al. (2019). The relationship between the frequency of number-puzzle use and baseline cognitive function in a large online sample of adults aged 50 and over

Dance your way to better brain health. (2018).

Eugene, AR, et al. (2015). The neuroprotective aspects of sleep.

Fissler, P., et al. (2018). Jigsaw puzzling taps multiple cognitive abilities and is a potential protective factor for cognitive aging.

Green, CS, et al. (2015). The impacts of video games on cognition (and how the government can guide the industry).

Hernandez-Mendo, A., et al. (2019). Physical activity, sports practice, and cognitive functioning: The current research status.

Jonaitis, E., et al. (2013). Cognitive activities and cognitive performance in middle-aged adults at risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

Karawani, H., et al. (2018). Restoration of sensory input may improve cognitive and neural function.

Kim, S., et al. (2019). Bilingualism for dementia: Neurological mechanisms associated with functional and structural changes in the brain.

Kim, S., et al. (2019). Roles of myokines in exercise-induced improvement of neuropsychiatric function [Abstract].

Krell-Roesch, J., et al. (2017). Association between mentally stimulating activities in late life and the outcome of incident mild cognitive impairment, with an analysis of the APOE ε4 genotype.

Meditation: In-depth. (2016).

Padilla, LM, et al. (2018). Decision making with visualizations: A cognitive framework across disciplines.

Park, DC, et al. (2014). The impact of sustained engagement on cognitive function in older adults: The synapse project.

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