By Mark Underwood
We’ve all heard of athletes who train for years before reaching their goal of winning a big competition, but have you heard of people who actively enhance their ability to remember and learn with innovative brain boosting strategies?
As millions of people move into middle age and grow older, many experience age-related changes like forgetfulness, difficulty concentrating, or memory lapses such as misplacing their car keys from time to time.
Some people work on improving their brain power by learning something new, for example: taking a class, working on difficult crossword puzzles, or learning to play a musical instrument that requires concentration and focus.
Many people are looking for brand new strategies to help them improve their ability to learn and remember what they just learned.
The benefits of protecting our brain’s health as we age are endless. Here are six exercises you can do to help boost your ability to learn and remember.
• Pay sharp attention to what you want to remember. You can’t remember something new if you’re multi-tasking and are distracted. Did you know it takes only 8 seconds or less to process a new piece of information and code it into your brain’s storage system? But you can’t do that if you aren’t paying attention to that brand new information you want to retain.
• Write down what you’ve learned. If you write it, either by typing or longhand, it may help imprint the information on your brain.
• Involve the senses. Try to relate the information you’re trying to remember to tastes, smells, colors, and textures. If you’re a visual learner, this may help ‘lock in’ that new bit of information in your brain.
• Make up your own acronyms. When you’re memorizing a list of information like the names of all the Great Lakes, try memorizing them with a single word like “HOMES.” That word connects the first letter of each lake’s name: Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior into one word that may help you remember each lake’s name.
• Review the information after you learn it. Instead of cramming to learn new information, review it the same day you learn it but leave time between remembering it and reviewing it. Many people have an easier time recalling memories when they don’t try to remember at lot of information all at once.
• Work on understanding basic ideas first. If you’re trying to memorize complex information, concentrate on the bigger ideas first then focus on the details later.
Mark Underwood is a neuroscience researcher, president, and co-founder of Quincy Bioscience, a biotech company located in Madison, Wisconsin focused on the discovery and development of medicines to treat age related memory loss and the diseases of aging. Mark has been taped as an expert in the field of neuroscience for The Wall Street Journal Morning Radio, CBS, and CNN Radio among others. Underwood is also a contributor to the “Brain Health Guide” which highlights the research at Quincy Bioscience and offers practical tips to help keep health brain function in aging. Visit www.TheGoodNewsAboutAging.com for more articles and tips for healthy aging.