As we get older, many of us worry that our capacity to remember will diminish. Indeed there is some decline associated with normal aging, and there are additional concerns about dementia. The good news is that there are measures to take that are preventative. An issue of Mind, Mood & Memory (2021), a health newsletter from Massachusetts General Hospital, advocated two measures in particular, namely, meditation and exercise.
Not only a possible spiritual practice, meditation also has a variety of proven health benefits, such as reducing stress, heart rate, and blood pressure. More recently meditation has been added as being a health benefit because it improves memory, concentration, and cognitive clarity. The benefit seems to come from a person's being simply present in the moment while meditating. Research is showing that specifically autobiographical and working memory are enhanced. Data is also suggesting that meditation assists such functions as organizing, problem solving, new learning, and emotional control because it enables its practitioners to be focused on right now.
Regular exercise makes a hefty contribution to good memory. Research has repeatedly shown that exercise has the greatest effect in reducing the risk of dementia. It can also slow dementia's progress once it has begun. xercise feeds the brain by nourishing the development of new neurons and by increasing blood flow. Effective exercise can be any activity that increases heart rate and is pleasant enough to make into a routine.
It is never too late to begin regular meditation and exercise. They can give us pleasure, a better memory, and more control over our fates.
Meditation helps memory and enhances mindfulness for clearer thinking. Mind, Mood & Memory, 2021, 17(2), pp. 1 & 7.
Regular exercise bolsters memory even after it's started to decline. Mind, Mood & Memory, 2021, 17(2), p. 3.