Alert
Close

Introducing AARP RealPad: The Wi-Fi Tablet That Makes It Easy to Share, Learn, Connect and Play. Learn more

4 Simple Rules to Shape Up Your Memory

The latest research shows that all of us can pump up our brainpower by exercising regularly

3: Add strength training

Strength or resistance training — using free weights, bands or machines — does more than bulk up your biceps. A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine last year found that when women 70- to 80-years-old, who already had symptoms of mild cognitive impairment, did one to two hours of weight training two days a week for six months, they had better focus and decision-making skills than those in a control group who did only balance and toning exercises. They also were able to resolve conflicts more readily. The benefits went beyond simply stemming memory loss, researchers said, to actual improvements.

Tips:

  • Especially if you have limited mobility or haven't lifted weights in more decades than you'd care to count, go easy, at least to start. Stretch before and after your workout.

  • Aim for at least 30 minutes twice a week, and work all the major muscle groups — arms, shoulders and chest; abdomen and back; hips and legs.

  • If you don't want to pay for a gym membership, buy your own hand weights and resistance bands. Then stow them next to the couch so you can squeeze in reps while you watch the news or catch up on Mad Men.

  • If you're thinking "There's got to be an app for that," you're right! Look for inexpensive watches, earbuds and bracelets with sensors that sync to your smartphone and record data about your weight, sleep habits, vital signs and how many steps you take each day. Log on to your computer for graphs and charts that show how much you've accomplished and how far you have to go. Think of your smartphone as your personal trainer, cajoling you to stick with the program even when you're convinced you can't.

Next page: Dance like nobody's watching. »

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Video Extra

LAUGH OUT LOUD: Cartoonist and animator Walt Handelsman takes a hilarious look at middle-age forgetfulness.

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

your
Health

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Reading eyeglasses eyemed 6 membership benefit health

Members save 25% on orders of $200 or more and get 25% off lens upgrades at glasses.com.

AARP/Walgreens Wellness Bus Stops in Clarksdale, MS

Members can get exclusive points offers from Walgreens and Duane Reade.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Most Popular
Articles

Viewed

Nothing has been viewed

featured
groups

Social Security

How to strengthen Social Security for future generations. Discuss

Medicare & Insurance

Share health coverage information and experiences common to being age 50+. Join

Health Nuts

Share heart-smart recipes, fitness tips and stress relievers. Join