Facts about Memory Exercises
Anyone who can claim they haven’t occasionally forgotten the name of an acquaintance met on the street, or where they left the car keys is either fibbing or already practicing memory exercises. While it is a fact that our memory abilities begin to fade as we age, there are ways to keep the little gray cells sharp and working optimally if we remember to do them.
Facts about memory
Though we may not realize it, humans actually have three separate types of memory. There is sensory memory, short term memory and long term memory. The brain is such an extremely complex and intricate organ that full understanding of its functions is yet to be achieved. It is believed that the majority of memories are stored in the cortex, with different pieces of information stored in various locations of the cortex. The different locations are networked electronically, so that when we see something such as the Grand Canyon, a visual memory sparks in one location of the cortex which immediately reaches out to another location to retrieve information about it. In that manner, we can identify what we are seeing.
- Sensory memory is broken down even further according to the type of sense; visual stimuli, aural stimuli and touch stimuli. Information that is received by the brain first passes through these buffers and then passed on to short term memory.
- Short term memory is just as it sounds; lasting a short time. An example would be reading this sentence; short term memory will retain the beginning of the sentence until you finish reading to the end so that it binds together and makes sense.
- Long term memory is the storage of information over a period of time. Short term memory is sent here to be stored.
The memories of humans can be impaired through a number of reasons. Both diseases and injuries can lead to a breakdown of memory, but so can the aging process. In addition, memory loss through aging can be further affected by diseases such as Alzheimer’s and cardiovascular disease. There are methods of restoring and sharpening memory skills, one of which can be fun and entertaining as well. Practicing memory exercises is one way that can be as fun and entertaining as it is helpful to keeping the “little gray cells” working optimally.
Our minds, like our bodies, work best when they are used. Not simply for thinking, but actually flex their strengths and abilities. To do this, there are several exercises that can be performed. An excellent memory game involves only the use of a deck of cards, shuffled and placed upside down in front of the individual, who attempts to match the numbers by flipping over a two cards at a time to reveal their faces. If a match is not made, turn both cards upside down and try again. Puzzles, such as word find, Sudoku, Word Jumble and mazes are also great. For those who have access to a computer, there are a number of “brain games” and memory exercises available at no cost that helps to sharpen the memory.
The key to exercising the memory is to make it a ritual. The exercises must be done continuously for positive results to be seen. Since many of them are so fun and entertaining, this should not present a problem to most.
All humans need to exercise their brains to help sharpen their memories, as not only aging affects our abilities. Brain cells begin to diminish in quantity during the 20’s, and there is a decrease in the amount of chemicals produced that help the brain’s functions. In addition, other common conditions such as depression and use of alcohol and drugs that afflict people of all ages can greatly inhibit the memory. The good news is that performing memory exercises can sharpen the brain’s ability to retain memory.