When was the last time you forgot something? Can’t remember? That’s no surprise. According to Australian research, memory loss can start as young as 20 – but you can halt the decline. That’s why Coach‘s sister brand Men’s Fitness put together these unforgetable ways to boost your brain power.
Brain training games or sudoku and crossword puzzles target specific cognitive abilities, but they don’t transfer to broader issues of problem solving, planning and more complex skills. Exercise, however, whether cardio or weights, has been shown to boost circulation, helping nourish your brain with nutrients and oxygen to perform optimally. Here are four other things proven to help you sharpen up – and you can put them into practice today.
Read More Shakespeare
A study from the University of California found reading can lower levels of a brain protein linked to Alzheimer’s. Lower levels of amyloid proteins were identified in the brains of those who read throughout their lives. Load your bookcase with challenging texts to give your mind a workout and push it out of its comfort zone, just like with your muscles – Liverpool University research found classic literature activated more of the brain than easier, modern adaptations.
Take a 60-Minute Power Nap
Just one night of poor sleep can damage your short- and long-term memory but a hour’s nap can help redress the damage, according to a study in the journal Neurobiology Of Learning And Memory. Can’t catch 40 winks at work? Go for a stroll instead. Just 30 minutes of daily walking can boost the size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain that processes new information and aids long-term memory, another study in Physiology And Behaviour suggests.
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Time Your Study Right
Revising for exams or got a big pitch in the morning? Cramming or rehearsing before bed and immediately after you wake can improve retention, according to Brazilian research. The study also found those who received training in the afternoon performed better on tests than those who trained in the morning. And for a last-minute fix, research in Nature Neuroscience found a cup of coffee can boost cognitive function and memory too.
Eat More Fat
Our brains are composed of 60% fat and use 20% of the body’s metabolic energy, so keeping them well fed is essential. The brain diet: polyunsaturated fats, the omega 3 fatty acid DHA and even saturated fat. A study in the journal Neurologica found healthy fats reduced the risk of dementia by 36%. Cook with coconut oil, eat oily fish and load up on nuts – especially almonds, pecans and walnuts – and you should get enough healthy fats to keep your mind whirring happily.