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Six Ways to Improve Your Memory and Keep Your Mind Sharp

By AARP-box Admin

Most people will experience some type of ‘brain aging’ throughout their lifetime. This can be especially scary considering the complications that go along with diseases like Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. It's crucial to maintain a good level of mental stimulation to keep your noggin working like a well-oiled machine. Here are six easy ways to maintain a healthy level of cognitive function and stay mentally sharp. 


  • Exercise: Staying active is important for so many different parts of your health, and your brain is no exception. Sure, your brain isn’t a muscle, but whenever you’re exercising your body, you’re also exercising your brain. Your brain is telling every part of your body what to do, and when those processes become a little more difficult, your brain has to work harder. Try these outdoor fitness options that will stimulate your muscles and your brain. 

  • Paint or Draw: You don’t have to be a Picasso or DaVinci to get the health benefits from painting and drawing. Whether it's a simple crayon doodle or a brilliant oil masterpiece, studies have shown that drawing and painting will keep your brain active. This is because painting is a stress reducer, and a low stress level leads to a happier, healthier mind. Painting and drawing comes more naturally to artistic, right-brain people, but more analytical left-brainers can stimulate and nurture their creative growth by practicing painting as well. So, let your imagination run wild and maybe even hang a few pieces up on your wall, all while making sure your brain gets the attention it needs.

  • Be a Bookworm: This may seem like a no-brainer, but if you really want to stay sharp, pick up a book! Reading is one of the best things you can do to improve memory and brain function, and you’ll probably learn something new along the way. From politics and fantasy, to comics and history, as long as you’re reading you’re giving your brain the exercise it needs. According to Google, there are approximately 130 million books currently circulating in the world, so it would be pretty hard to run out of options.

  • Crosswords/Brain Games: There are many modern resources that can also help work your brain out. Honestly, there is an app for everything nowadays! There are apps that are designed to help improve your cognitive skills in fun ways. Spending a little bit of time each day testing those skills is a playful way to stay sharp. If you don’t have a smartphone, try sudoku, the daily crossword puzzle from your local newspaper, or a quick game of chess with a partner to sharpen those cognitive skills as well. 

  • Play an Instrument: If you’ve never tried your hand at playing a musical instrument, it's not too late to learn. Researchers have found that learning to play a musical instrument can enhance memory, spatial reasoning and literacy skills. This is because playing an instrument makes you use both sides of your brain, which strengthens memory power. There are plenty of guides and tutorial videos on the internet that will make learning much easier. Get jamming!