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Have you ever took off for a part of your house, only to (once you’re there) stand and ponder what you were after?!?! Don’t worry, it happens to all of us. For me, it seems like the busier I am – the more things I have on my mind – the more likely it is to happen. Yesterday was one of those days and, sure enough, I took off for the back of the house to add fabric softener to a load of laundry only to – halfway there – wonder why I’d left the kitchen!
I felt better later in the evening when I was watching a young female athlete on the news. We’re talking High School, the only wrinkles she knows are in her tee, young. She was midway in a sentence and looked at the reporter and said, “I forgot where I was headed with that.” The reporter, who couldn’t have been much older, said, “I forgot where I wanted you to head!” All three of us had a good laugh.
Sometimes, though, these memory lapses are anything but funny. To a person who is battling senile dementia or Alzheimer’s, laughter is nowhere on the horizon. Did you know that 5 percent of people aged 65 and older get Alzheimer’s. The number goes up as age increases.
However, the flip side of the coin is that more and more is being done to make these numbers go down. The numbers have people’s attention, and God willing, they’ll be able to turn things around. Every single one of us, even the young basketball star, should start reading more about mental health and mental fitness . We should do so as if our life depends on it, because the life as we know it does.
I’ve done a lot of research for mental fitness, as it relates to preventing memory loss. I’ve been looking for information to share with you that would be like an aerobic workout for the mind. The best one I found is actually from the AARP – and while most of us are nowhere near retirement, the information is priceless.
Here’s the 10-step mental workout courtesy of AARP:
1. Exercise regularly: Studies have shown that aerobic fitness may reduce the loss of brain tissue common in aging.
2. Stick to a healthy diet: Avoid sugar and saturated fat. And eat lots of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables such as blueberries, spinach, and beets. The magnesium found in dark green, leafy vegetables appears to help maintain memory.
3. Learn new things: Mastering activities you’ve never done before, such as playing the piano or learning a foreign language, stimulates neuron activity.
4. Get enough sleep: Too little sleep impairs concentration.
5. Devise memory strategies: Make notes or underline key passages to help you remember what you’ve read. Invent mnemonics formulas to help you remember things.
6. Socialize: Conversation, especially positive, meaningful interaction, helps maintain brain function.
7. Get organized: Designate a place for important items such as keys and checkbooks. Keep checklists for things such as daily medications or items to pack when you travel.
8. Turn off the tube: Experts say too much TV watching weakens brain power.
9. Jot down new information: Writing helps transfer items from short, to long-term memory.
10. Solve brainteasers: Crossword puzzles, card games, and board games such as Scrabble improve your memory.
I know, personally, that I should start challenging myself, mentally, more. Well, physically, too, but that’s a different story! The most mentally challenging thing I did this week was try to make my cup of green tea taste better.
And I failed at that. Miserably. Poured it in the sink.
Make each moment count double,