When it comes to memory, we humans have two main types - short-term and long-term memory. Our short-term memory is responsible for helping you remember a name or phone number when you first hear it. If that memory becomes an important one, it can move into our long-term memory systems so that we can recall it for days, weeks and years to come. Many factors like genetics, our lifestyle and diet can greatly affect our brain health but don't panic just yet. There are things you can do to keep your memory function going strong and we are sharing our best 5 tips
When it comes to both your brain and body, exercise really can't be beat! Regular exercise, where your heart rate is elevated, will help reduce blood sugar (insulin) levels, reduce inflammation in your body, improve mood and sleep as well as helping to increase overall brain volume and improve memory! We'll get into more how exercise contributes to brain health tomorrow, but exercising 3-5 times a week for at least 20 minutes is all you need to start seeing brain benefits.
2) Super Foods
What you eat and put into your body will definitely affect how well your brain functions. Certain foods, like dark, leafy vegetables, salmon and blueberries have been shown to help improve memory function and even fight off neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Read more about our favorite brain super foods here.
3) Sleep Well
It's actually during sleep that our short-term memories are thought to consolidate to long-term memories. Most of our memory consolidation actually occurs during REM sleep (the sleep where you often dream). Getting at least 6 hours of sleep a night can help improve memory consolidation and also lower your risk of a stroke! To get a better night's sleep, invest in some blackout curtains, put down your electronics and pick up a book. Your brain will thank you!
4) Slow, Deep Breathing
It seems so simple, but deep breathing, where you inhale through your nose on a 7-count and exhaling through your nose on a 7-count can actually help to increase memory recall. Slow, deep breathes can also help your brain combat things like anxiety and depression, so take a moment to slow down and catch your breath today!
5) Change up your routine!
You might be one of those people who love their routine - you like to do the same exercises and eat the same foods and have the same schedule. While there's nothing wrong with that, our brains can go into autopilot while we're doing tasks we've done over and over again. To really challenge your brain, try doing different types of exercises. If you walk everyday, add some strength training or Pazaz into the mix! Reading new books and attempting to learn new skills (no matter your age) can help keep your brain in tip-top shape for years to come.
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Bree has a masters degree in neuroscience from the University of Iowa, and loves sharing what she's learned about the brain as it relates to health and fitness. In her free time, Bree enjoys swimming, reading, eating, and hanging out with Jesus.