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5 Ways to Keep Your Memory Sharp After 50

If you’ve witnessed a loved one struggle with cognitive decline, a common issue with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, you might wonder what you can do to keep your memory sharp and prevent these issues from affecting you. 

Here, Lenny Cohen, MD, and our Chicago Neurological Services team share five tips for reducing your risk of cognitive decline and keeping your memory sharp after 50.

1. Keep your mind stimulated 

One of the best ways to keep your mind sharp is to exercise it, according to the Global Council on Brain Health. Stimulate your mind with activities that challenge and engage it. Consider:

Research shows that learning a second (or third) language improves memory. In fact, bilingual or multilingual people consistently score better on memory tests than single-language learners because learning languages improves neuroplasticity in your brain.

You can also keep your mind active and curious. Seek new knowledge and experiences by taking classes, workshops, or online classes to learn new skills and keep your mind busy.

2. Exercise your body

Cognitive decline is twice as common in adults aged 45 years or older who don’t exercise as it is in adults who regularly exercise.

Physical activity increases blood flow to the entire body, including the brain. Aim for a mix of aerobic and strength-training exercises for at least 150 minutes per week.

3. Maintain a healthy lifestyle

Keep your mind sharp by adopting healthy lifestyle habits:

Eat brain-healthy foods

Include a variety of nutrient-rich foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish and nuts, are particularly beneficial for brain health. Broccoli, blueberries, and turmeric are also good for your brain.

Get enough sleep

Quality sleep is essential for memory consolidation and cognitive function. For example, during your REM sleep cycle, your brain links related memories and processes emotional memories. This is why a good night of sleep can help with problem solving. Without good quality sleep, your brain doesn’t have enough time to process all your memories from the day.

Strive for 7-9 hours of sleep per night.

Manage your stress levels 

Chronic stress can negatively impact your memory. Practice stress-reducing techniques like meditation, deep breathing, or yoga. Studies show that music and meditation can boost memory capacity and improve overall cognition. 

4. Socialize

Maintaining social connections also supports your cognitive health and protects your memory. Engage in meaningful conversations, participate in social activities, and spend time with loved ones. 

You might also consider: 

The takeaway: Spending time with friends and family 一 no matter what you do together 一 is good for your memory.

5. Stay organized

Staying organized can help manage cognitive load and support memory function as life becomes busier. Use planners, organization apps, or simple notes. Writing things down on paper helps solidify information in your memory.

You can also make use of technology. Take advantage of smartphone apps and reminders to help with memory tasks and organization.

Reach out if you spot the signs of cognitive decline

If you spot the signs of cognitive decline or struggle with your memory, don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Cohen. Dementia and memory problems are associated with several different conditions, from traumatic brain injuries to neurodegenerative conditions. Getting help for your memory starts by pinpointing the source of your decline and then addressing it.

Dr. Cohen may suggest task modification, occupational therapy, and other lifestyle changes to help boost your memory.

To get started, call our Roscoe Village or Oak Park, Illinois. Office or simply click here.

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