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Mentalrobics™

You exercise your body to stay physically in shape, so why shouldn't you exercise your brain to stay mentally fit? With these daily exercises you will learn how to flex your mind, improve your creativity and boost your memory. As with any exercise, repetition is necessary for you to see improvement, so pick your favorite exercises from our daily suggestions and repeat them as desired. Try to do some mentalrobics every single day!

Memory is not a thing that you can measure. There is no single place in the brain where memories are stored or where remembering happens. You can't take an MRI of your brain, point to your memory, and say, "My, what a good memory I have!"

Memory is better thought of as a collection of behaviors that you use to organize information in your mind. So, when someone says that they have a "bad memory," what they are really saying is that they don't have a good process for storing and retrieving information. While there is some link between intelligence and memory ability, memory is mostly a learned skill and you can get better at it with practice.

Exercises designed to improve your memory are not trying to enlarge or strengthen any particular part of your brain. Instead, they are teaching you new behaviors and skills that can be used to organize information in your mind and improve your ability to recall this information rapidly and accurately.

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One way to remember a list of objects (like a grocery list) is to visualize each item in a particular place in your house.

For example, you may visualize the broccoli on your nightstand, the tomatoes in the sink, and the apples on the couch. When you need to remember the grocery list, picture yourself walking through the house and seeing all the objects in their unusual places.

Making associations like this will give your memory something to grab onto. It's much easier to remember tomatoes in your sink than it is to just remember tomatoes!

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As the brain ages and deteriorates, there are certain functions that are affected more than others. In particular, processing speed, short-term memory, semantic memory, attention to details, and the ability to multitask are more vulnerable to natural age related decline.

Fortunately, there are certain brain functions that are not affected much by age. These are attention, language, procedural memory, and creativity. In addition, wisdom naturally improves with age. These unaffected skills often compensate for the functions that deteriorate.

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The human brain reaches its full size by age 20 and then starts shrinking by about 1% per year. Male brains actually shrink slightly faster than female brains, but before you draw any conclusions it should be noted that there is no evidence that brain size determines ability. Rather, it is how your brain is constructed that matters.

The decrease in brain mass is not due to the death of neurons. In fact, recent research is showing that you can actually make new neurons as you age. The shrinkage is mostly due to changes within the neurons. In particular, the number of branching dendrites and connecting synapses decreases with age. Additionally, age causes the deterioration of the protective covering that surrounds the neurons. This may contribute to decreased mental performance.

Smoking, drinking and high cholesterol are all thought to hasten the shrinkage of the brain, so there's yet another reason to give up your vices.

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Previously we talked about short-term memory and about how you can test it yourself.

Now, Braingle has an interactive short-term memory test that you can use to find your limit. It can also keep track of your results from day to day, so as you use our memory improvement exercises you will be able to see your improvement.

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