The key to remembering where you put your keys? It could be as easy as these simple tweaks to your daily routine.
Practice good posture
Go thank Mom for nagging you to sit up straight—standing and sitting up straight and tilting your chin up boosts blood and oxygen flow to the brain by up to 40 percent, making it easier to recall memories.
Try a different type
We’re talking typeface—researchers have found that using an unusual font on study materials can help you remember the content better. Does this mean Comic Sans for your next work presentation?
Watch funny cat videos
Learning ability, recall, and visual recognition all improved among a group of elderly individuals who watched a funny 30-minute video, one study found. Chalk it up to the stress relief, researcher Gurinder Bains, M.D. says. “With aging, the damaging effects of stress can impair the ability to learn and sustain memory,” he explained. “Humor and the associated mirthful laughter can reduce stress by decreasing stress hormones, including cortisol and catecholamines.” (We’ve got you covered on Care2.)
Go to happy hour
Over 60 years old? Light and moderate alcohol consumption in older adults has been associated with larger volume in the hippocampus and better episodic memory (the ability to recall events).
Take regular walks
The hippocampus—the brain’s memory center—shrinks as you age, but research has found that older adults who go on walks actually gain volume in the hippocampus.
Prefer to hit the gym? One study had participants lift weights while looking at a series of photos. Two days later, those who strength trained remembered about 60 percent, while those who didn’t remembered 50 percent.
It doesn’t get easier than this. Chewing gum has been shown to increase heart rate, blood pressure, and blood flow to the brain, giving you a 15 to 20 minute window of improved memory.
Use pen and paper
Taking notes in a meeting? Bring a notebook, not a laptop. Writing things down instead of typing them was found to help with active listening and retention.