“He’s always forgetting where his keys are!” If you cannot help thinking your father is just being difficult, you may well be wrong.
It appears that men are more susceptible to memory loss than women. It does not mean that they don’t care and thus don’t want to remember the things they’re not interested in: it’s just that there are some biological causes underlying their memory loss. Age-related memory decline is found in both genders, but men are prone to it to a more significant extent than ladies.
The Science Behind it
In 2015, a team of investigators from Mayo Clinic carried out a research in which they found that gradual decline of memory starts at about age 30 and speeds up after 65 or so. This result was true for both genders, but men showed worse results after age forty. The mechanics of the decline is hippocampus shrinkage. Hippocampus is a brain region which answers for memory storage and management. It appeared that hippocampus shrinkage was more significant in men after age sixty.
One more research conducted by Mayo Clinic revealed that men in the age group of 70 to 89 are more likely to experience symptoms of pre-dementia than women. The researchers looked for symptoms of mild cognitive impairment, and when they assessed memory capacity of 1,450 patients, they found that men tended to suffer from such things more often.
However, the biological processes underlying the issue remain unknown. There are a number of conditions with which memory loss and cognitive impairment are associated, and every man can do his best to try to preserve this function. So how can you contribute to memory maintenance?
Perils of The Modern Way of Life
One of the first things that everyone can benefit from is to reevaluate your way of life. The modern world affects the way we live to a great extent. Many of the high-tech swords which fill our lives today have two edges: on the one hand, they make it convenient for us to handle daily routine, like groceries, using public transportation, communicating with friends and relatives, etc. On the other hand, this simplification deprives us of many opportunities to think and actually do something.
How many times a day do you go to the nearest post office to send a letter? Unless you are a postman, you are unlikely to visit such places often. Instead, we chat all days long using mobile apps, Skype and other means of virtual communication. Such solutions enable us not to go outside and do everything we need at our place. There’s even no need to go shopping: your dinner is a couple of clicks away.
However, these seeming benefits are often outweighed by the negative impact of being inactive. We spend days clicking, watching and sitting. “What does it have to do with memory loss?” you may ask, but the connection is clear.
When you are inactive, both mentally and physically, your body deteriorates fast. Look at the growing numbers of diseases diagnosed in seniors – they are alarming. In the past, people used to be more active and had fewer health problems: they had to work a lot, did not have an opportunity to lead a sedentary lifestyle, prayed and had a lot to do. Yes, you will be right when you say that modern medicine can offer a lot more solutions to treat diseases, but it’s difficult to deny that most modern people are not that active. The good news is that you can change it. And here is how.
How to Help Your Brain Preserve Memory Capacity
The strategy is to add more exercise for both your brain and body.
- Keep learning. One of the most effective ways of keeping your brain in shape is learning something new on a regular basis. There’s always room for improvement, and even daily routine can provide you with a lot of opportunities to do something new. For example, you can find new recipes, go to a museum, or do something else that would make your brain work without inconveniencing you much. If you feel like you have enough energy to do something even more interesting, learn a language, as it is believed to be one of the skills associated with lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Stay socially engaged. Even chatting with friends online will do, but meeting them in real life is a better idea, as this way you can combine physical activity and social interaction. If you have no other opportunities to communicate other than your work, don’t retire until your health prevents you from working: the reason for it is that working is beneficial in a variety of ways. Besides bringing you money, it can help you stay in shape (as going to work means walking or even cycling), stay in touch with the people you know (thus letting you engage in conversations, which benefits your memory), and keep on improving your skills: in most cases, working means constant knowledge updating and learning.
- Find a hobby you like. Knitting is fine, but there are other ways to spend time which can be more beneficial for your health. For example, you can enroll in some course, learn how to play the guitar, paint, volunteer to work at shelters for stray pets – there are a number of ways to keep yourself busy and make your brain train.
- Exercise regularly. Cycling, swimming, playing tennis, hiking – the opportunities available are numerous, and you can find a sport to your liking. Exercising can help you stay healthy and benefits your joints, muscles and various organs which would otherwise suffer because of lack of physical activity and abundance of fat. Fight obesity – getting rid of the unnecessary pounds can have a positive effect on many organs, including liver, cardiovascular system, gastrointestinal tract, etc.
- Eating properly is strongly recommended, as there are nutrients which are beneficial for memory too. For example, omega 3 is a thing which can help your brain preserve its memory capacity. Salmon is one of the best sources of omega 3 (if there are many options available, choose wild salmon).
- Sleep enough. Do not neglect sleep, as it can result in a variety of diseases and disorders. Your brain needs rest to maintain its functions, and skipping your 7-hour-a-day is likely to cause you trouble.
Any man can help his brain maintain good memory capacity. The set of measures suggested above can benefit not only your memory but also other aspects of life: being fit and knowing more can be a step towards a new you. Even if you are not a senior yet, it’s always high time to take care of your brain: regardless of whether you are seventeen, forty or seventy, you can make up a list of what you can do to let your brain and body exercise more: it’s very likely that you will see positive changes not only in your body but also in your mind.