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INSIDE THIS ISSUE From the Desk of Paul Stano PAGE 1 The Holiday of New Orleans PAGE 1 Three Cheers for Chi Chi! PAGE 2 All About Chocolate PAGE 3 Take a Break PAGE 3 Edible Valentine’s Day Cookie Cards PAGE 3 3 Ways to Improve Your Memory PAGE 4
STRENGTH OF MIND
Tips to Keep Memory Sharp and Improve Cognitive Function
Irish poet Oscar Wilde once called memory “the diary that we all carry about with us.” Of course, in Wilde’s time, the average life expectancy was less than 50 years old. As modern medicine continues to enable people to live longer, these “diaries” tend to become muddled. Fortunately, there are ways to counteract the natural dulling of our memory that comes with time. Just like any other muscle, our brain needs a workout in order to stay strong. As Dr. Celeste Robb-Nicholson of Harvard Medical School writes, “Challenging your brain with mental exercise is believed to activate processes that help maintain individual brain cells.” Activities like solving puzzles, learning a musical instrument, or picking up a new hobby work wonders to keep your PUZZLE YOURSELF
mind active and your memory sharp. These mental exercises are especially important after retirement, often to make up for the loss of stimulating challenges that work used to provide.
SPEND TIME WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY
Taking care of our physical health has also been shown to help brain function. According to a study by Sydney University in Australia, aerobic exercise is particularly good at jogging our memory. The researchers note that “aerobic exercise acts by preventing the usual decrease in neurogenesis associated with aging, thus resulting in greater retention of neural matter — particularly in the hippocampus.” In short, exercises like swimming and running keep the part of our brain responsible for memory from shrinking.
Humans are social creatures. Many studies have shown that being a part of a supportive social group can significantly benefit our physical and mental health. In fact, the American Journal of Public Health reports that people who have daily contact with friends and family cut their risk of dementia and mental impairment almost in half. Our mental diaries may be longer and fuller than they were in Wilde’s day, but if we fill those pages with hobbies, exercise, and close friends, our memories will remain sharp and vivid for the rest of our days.
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