Activities to keep your memory flexing

Just like the rest of your body, your brain needs a good workout to stay fit and healthy.

We all have those occasional moments of walking into a room and forgetting what we’re doing, or even forgetting someone’s name out of the blue. Thankfully, with some everyday flexing and refreshing, you can keep your memory in tip-top form even as the years roll by.

To minimise the time spent searching for your glasses (when they’re jauntily perched on your head), make a habit of stretching, pushing, and exercising your brain every day. Here are a few to get you started.

Learn a language

Have you ever wanted to learn French? Or simply understand more Maori? Now’s your chance!

Invest in a language dictionary (or download a language app such as Duolingo), and pick a few words to learn every day. Whether you memorise them in the morning and remember them at night, make flash cards, or keep a daily language journal, you’ll quickly build a solid foundation of vocabulary and give your brain a good workout while you’re at it.

If you don’t feel a second language will be useful, you can also do this with English – there are plenty of rare words you probably don’t know. Start with halfpace, genuflect, or even kerfuffle.

If you have young children or grandchildren, observing their conversations is another great way to learn some new words.

Do a jigsaw

Doing a 1,000-piece jigsaw is basically doing 1,000 tiny memory exercises, all piled on top of one another.

You have to remember the colours, patterns, and shapes you’re looking for, and where they go, in order to complete a puzzle. It’s also easy to set up a puzzle and work on it for an hour or so each evening with a cup of tea and a biscuit, so it’ll hardly feel like brain training at all.

Share a photo album

Get together with a friend or a group and bring along your old photo albums. Take turns going through the albums, sharing the stories behind the photos, adding whatever details you can remember such as names, places, the season, and even who took the photo.

This is not just a beautiful way to reconnect with your past and share your precious moments with friends, it will also help you to exercise your memories and remind you of things you may have even forgotten.

Give yourself a guided tour of your city

How much do you know about the landmarks and historical points around your city or town? There are probably plenty of places and points that you’ve walked past all your life without learning much about them.

Head online and do some research around the prominent places, people, and dates in your area, then give yourself (and any friends or family who will come along) a walking tour. You’ll learn a few things, test your memory, and even teach others about their surroundings as well.

Take up birdwatching

Birding is a fantastic hobby that will get you outside, ramp up your daily steps, and help you meet people. But it’s also something of a test for your memory.

You’ll need to be able to recognise different species of birds, and remember facts about them, such as their favourite trees to nest in, where they’re most likely to be found, and how rare they are. It’s a real learning curve, but a thoroughly enjoyable one as well, and one that you can practice anywhere in the country, any day of the week, alone or with others.

Trying different memory exercises for your brain as you age is just as important as different exercises for your body as you age, as the best part is, it can be just as fun, social, and rewarding as physical exercise.

While you’re at it, remember to organise funeral insurance with New Zealand Seniors.  It’s one of those things that once done, you can completely forget about it and never feel guilty!

You can apply for funeral insurance today with no medicals or blood tests required