Age Matters Clinic


Toronto Geriatric Assessment and Memory Clinic

Physical Exercise Can Improve Your Memory

Elderly woman stretching

Exercise isn't just good for your body. It's also good for your brain. As you age, you may find that forgetfulness or memory loss is becoming an issue. You're certainly not alone. This happens because the connections between our brain cells, or neurons, are starting to get weaker. Thankfully, there are ways to strengthen these connections - and improve your memory while you're at it.

The strength of your memory is determined by the strength of certain neurological pathways in your brain. The older you get, the weaker those connections become. This can cause issues like forgetfulness and memory loss. While you may think this is something to worry about during later life, those connections actually begin to weaken in your mid-twenties. You may find that you begin to lose episodes of memory. An example of this? If you forget where you place your keys. You've forgotten the act of putting your keys down, not what keys actually are. In that case, you still have the information - you've just forgotten certain parts of memory. The older you get, the more likely you are to lose episodes more frequently or start forgetting the information itself.

Are you ready to improve your memory? Then you'll need to work up a sweat. Science has proven that brain cells are malleable, which means it is possible to form neutrons and make strong connections at any age. So, whether you're thirty or eighty, memory can always be improved. The key is to keep exercising it. Just like working a muscle on your body, your brain needs to be worked, too. How can you do this? With mental exercises. They can help strengthen connections, thereby improving your short-term and long-term memory.

The more you use your brain, the easier it will be to recall information. That is why so many doctors and scientists suggest doing mental exercises. To tackle age related memory loss, try doing a daily crossword, reading the morning paper, doing a brainteaser, learning a new language, or playing a musical instrument. All of these things can make a huge difference to your brain. In fact, it has been found that simply knowing more than one language can add four years to your overall brain health. The more you know, the better! It is no wonder "brain gyms" are popping up for senior citizens. These facilities offer mental exercises and other brain games to help boost memory.

It's not just your brain that needs a good workout. Breaking a sweat the old fashioned way has also been connected to improved memory. Studies have shown that exercising regularly can add up to five years to your memory. That means five years of added independence. How does this happen? It all has to do with increased blood flow to the brain. This can strengthen the connections between those brain pathways. To reap the rewards of working out, try weight lifting or going for a brisk walk.

It's time to improve your memory. By combining mental and physical exercise, you can do just that. It doesn't just keep your body also keeps your brain strong and your memory sharp. For a seriously fit brain, incorporate exercise into your life. It won't be long before you notice a change.