The first memory improvement techniques to examine is brain fitness.
Doesn't it make sense that memory improvement techniques would work best in a brain that is fit?
Perhaps you did not know that there were some things you could do to make more neurons (neurogenesis) and increase the connectivity of neurons, which the scientists call neuroplasticity.
You are not alone in that 'never-heard-of-neurogenesis' category, because the discovery of this particular capacity of the human brain happened within the last 15 years.
But it is true, we grow new neurons every day, and if they do not sprout up in a brain that has too much or too frequent stress hormone presence or too much or too frequent exposure to booze or environmental toxins, for example, those new neurons will migrate to the hippocampus, which is an important part of the memory system.
So let's start with brain fitness as our basic memory improvement technique.
If you want an a basic primer on brain fitness, I suggest you read Brainfit for Life by Simon Evans,Ph.D. and Paul Burghardt,Ph.D. who are neuroscientists at the University of Michigan. Evans and Burghardt have culled the neuroscientific research and put the nuggets they have found for us into a enjoyable jargon free e-book that is available by the chapter, or by e-book, or in hard cover, if you are a lover of books.
They say that brain fitness means taking care of the pillars of brain fitness, which are physical exercise, nutrition including lots of antioxidants and omega 3 fatty acid, stress management, lots of good sleep, and novel learning experiences, which usually means exposing yourself to the challenges of learning a new language or a new instrument, or perhaps using one of the new computerized brain fitness programs.
Yes, perhaps the most important memory improvement techniques tool.
If you think that means going to the gym and flinging around heavy barbells, you can relax. The kind of exercise that is required for brain fitness is about ten minutes per day of something that will make you breathe deep, so if you are walking around the block, go a little faster for a little longer. But this is a minimum requirement, folks, and more is better here, so swimming, and biking, and aerobic workouts are very important for neurogenesis and neuroplasticity, and a fitter brain forms more connections which is what memory really is, connections between neurons.
If you want to take a look at a workout that you can do at home, with minimal equipment, that works for82 year old Pat and 89 year old Bill, try this.
Well, vitamins and omega 3 fatty acid can be taken in pill form, but it is best to get them from your diet, and a couple of squares of dark chocolate will help here too.
For brain fitness though, you must put an end to processed foods and high fructose corn syrup, and include much more fresh fruit and vegetables.
It turns out that your brain uses the time you are asleep to complete certain hormonal events and to consolidate memories. You risk faulty memory by cutting short your sleep, and stress hormones present too often kill those new neurons, so stress management of the heart rate variability kind, or deep breathing exercises are absolutely vital to neurogenesis and neuroplasticity.
So you want novel learning experiences, but you do not have time to take up a new instrument or a new language.
There are some great new computerized brain fitness programs with excellent research which actually exercise the neurons in the memory circuits if you will, that can be worked into your daily schedule to enhance neurogenesis and neuroplasticity.
One of them, Mind Sparke Brain Fitness Pro, actually has been shown to increase IQ, and another, the Posit Science Brain Fitness Program, was the subject of extensive research in the 2009 IMPACT study. I recommend the following brain fitness programs.
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