Whether it's becoming a Sudoku champion or remembering the name of someone you just met, everyone probably wishes they could muster up a little extra brain power. There are no quick fixes when it comes to improving (or preventing the decline of) cognitive functions like memory, info processing, or critical thinking, but there are some very basic steps you can take to keep your brain as healthy as possible.
"A lot of things that should be recommended for reducing dementia are actually just common sense and work for general health too," says Dr. Joe Verghese, professor of neurology and medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. "The challenge is getting people to do it." Eating right, exercising, and staying mentally active top the list of brain-health boosters, but they aren't the only options.
8. Spaced Interval Repetition
If you've ever had to memorize something, you are probably familiar with spaced interval repetition (SIR). SIR is a learning technique that uses repeated testing over increasing intervals until whatever you're trying to memorize finally sticks. So you test yourself a lot at first, then less and less over time. It sounds really basic but SIR is a well-supported way to get the most out of your memory – and a reason there are so many new smartphone apps that follow this technique.
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