Monday, January 15, 2018
News Roundup

Build memory skills and stay sharp with exercise

Are you fearful your cognitive powers are spiraling out of control as a result of the aging process? While it is true cognitive decline begins a slow, gradual descent around age 45, this decline is not always an inevitable result of the aging process. And having fleeting but frustrating moments when you cannot remember where your glasses are or recall the name of someone you haven't seen for a while does not mean you are destined for serious memory issues.

Major memory loss is generally caused by organic disorders, brain injuries or neurological issues. Good news for senior moments. Fortunately, when it comes to increasing learning and memory skills, research confirms there are many ways we can sharpen our minds and actually improve memory as we age.

Tips for improving memory

Use it or lose it

It is believed exercises that stimulate the brain such as reading, traveling, card games, memory games, musical instruments . . . even changing your daily routine around help stimulate the hippocampus, the part of the brain most responsible for memory.

It is also a good idea to challenge the brain by introducing new activities that you have never done before.

For me personally, my latest mental stimulation is taking piano lessons, something I had never done — and I love it!

Get movin'

Regardless of what part of the body you want to strengthen, you need to follow the "use it or lose it" principle.

When you begin to exercise, muscles will use oxygen at a significantly higher rate, increasing blood flow throughout the body, including the memory-brain area.

Just as exercise helps to keep arteries to the heart open, exercise will do the same for blood vessels in the brain. Even exercising in small doses can help sharpen your memory, but it is important for memory enhancement that the exercising be consistent.

Some studies indicate regular exercise workouts can even reverse aging in the brain.

Friendships and fun

Maintaining a strong support system by interacting with friends, whether by phone or in person, can stimulate the brain.

In a recent study from the Harvard School of Public Health, researchers found people with the most active social lives had the slowest rate of memory decline. And if friends aren't readily available, don't forget the friendship and love of a pet. They both come with cognitive benefits.

Adequate sleep

While occasional bouts of insomnia are generally nothing to be concerned about, chronic sleep deprivation can negatively affect memory recall.

If you have trouble sleeping, you might want to try listening to a progressive muscle relaxation tape. Amazon.com has a variety of tapes available.

De-stress

Chronic stress (activating the stress hormone cortisol) is a major contributor to memory loss. Because we cannot totally void our lives of stress, it would be better to think in terms of stress management rather than stress elimination.

Introducing relaxation techniques such as relaxation breathing into your daily living can help to defuse the biochemical and physiological reaction to the pending stress: Inhale deeply through your nose to a count of four, hold your breath for several seconds, then exhale through the mouth, taking twice as long (eight seconds).

Don't forget to laugh — a great stress reliever! And learn to say no before taking on added responsibilities when your plate is already full.

Hydrate

Drink before you are thirsty.

Even a slight amount of dehydration can reduce mental energy resulting in memory impairment. It is recommended you drink 48 to 64 ounces — or six to eight 8-ounce glasses — of water daily.

Brain-boosting foods

Fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids are salmon, trout, tuna, halibut, sardines, mackerel and herring. Nonfish sources include walnuts, pumpkin seeds and soybeans.

Brightly colored fruits and veggies provide antioxidants, which play a major role in improving memory function.

Foods rich in folic acid are spinach, kale, collards, asparagus, black beans and romaine lettuce.

The Alzheimer's Society recommends eggs to improve memory. They have vitamins important for nourishing the memory center in your brain.

If you are 50 or older and have not been exercising, check with your physician before beginning any exercise program. Trainer Sally Anderson is happy to hear from readers but cannot respond to individual queries. She can be reached at [email protected]

   
Comments
Gary Trent, Duke rally past Miami with 18-0 run

Gary Trent, Duke rally past Miami with 18-0 run

CORAL GABLES — Gary Trent scored a season-high 30 and No. 5 Duke needed less than three minutes to erase a 13-point second-half deficit, scoring 18 consecutive points to overtake No. 25 Miami 83-75 on Monday night. The Blue Devils scored 15 in six po...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Mother of two, 42, identified as casualty after Port Richey boat fire

Mother of two, 42, identified as casualty after Port Richey boat fire

PORT RICHEY — As the boat disappeared in smoke and flames Sunday, as people leapt into the cold waters below, the neighborhood rallied. Residents helped the survivors ashore, gave them blankets and opened their homes to keep them warm.The neighbors o...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Lottery resultsNumbers drawn after 9 p.m. are no longer available by our deadlines. For results, go to tampabay.com/lottery.Pick 2, 3, 4, 5Mon., Jan. 15, midday:40 098 2397e_SRit98281Mon., Jan. 15, evening:14 345 3173e_SRit61471Fantasy 5Mon., Jan. 15...
Updated: 2 hours ago
On King’s birthday, Tampa Bay parties, marches, reflects

On King’s birthday, Tampa Bay parties, marches, reflects

ST. PETERSBURGTeenagers dunked on 8-foot basketball hoops, parents feasted on hot dogs and snow cones and gospel music blared from a wall of speakers in Tropicana Field’s parking lots.While thousands buzzed around them on Monday, Destiny and Dameka R...
Updated: 3 hours ago

ConnecticutArmy vet sues VA over scalpel left in body after surgeryAn Army veteran who says someone left a scalpel inside him after surgery is suing a Connecticut veterans affairs hospital. Bridgeport resident Glenford Turner says the scalpel was onl...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Shrine Game journal: Homecoming for Utah OL Salesi Uhatafe; Quinton Flowers works on snaps

ST. PETERSBURG — Salesi Uhatafe is back in his hometown, and though he moved to Texas when he was still a baby, it’s very much a homecoming as the former Utah offensive lineman plays in Saturday’s East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field."I’ll probab...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Iowa State’s two-way star Joel Lanning practicing at linebacker for East-West Shrine Game

Iowa State’s two-way star Joel Lanning practicing at linebacker for East-West Shrine Game

ST. PETERSBURG — Joel Lanning has the unique distinction of being listed as an "LB/QB" on the West roster for Saturday’s East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field.And while the former Iowa State star spent the entire practice at middle linebacker Mond...
Updated: 3 hours ago
A time of celebration

A time of celebration

GABRIELLA ANGOTTI-JONES | TimesBetty Taylor, who was marching with the organization Books on the Move, hands out beads along the MLK Dream Big Parade route in downtown St. Petersburg on Monday. Spectators were treated to floats, walking units and...
Updated: 3 hours ago

50 senators endorse net neutrality return

WASHINGTON — Fifty U.S. senators have endorsed a legislative measure to override the Federal Communications Commission’s recent decision to deregulate the broadband industry, top Democrats said Monday.The tally leaves supporters just one vote shy of ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Ernest Hooper: MLK holiday is a reminder that action, not just words, is required

Ernest Hooper: MLK holiday is a reminder that action, not just words, is required

Minutes before the Rev. Janae Pitts-Murdock delivered her moving keynote speech at the Tampa Organization of Black Affairs’ annual Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Breakfast, I checked my emails.Mistake.Even in the 7 a.m. hour, anger emerging from m...
Updated: 3 hours ago