A Memory Muscle Workout.

Whether you want to remember the name of a new business contact, mentally file away the title of a must-read book you just heard about, or permanently tattoo a critical piece of information on your brain cells, there are some tricks to enhancing your ability to store and recall information. Here are some of the most-forgotten items and how to remember them:

Remembering a New Acquaintance’s Name. At a business dinner and want to impress your boss with your ability to remember her husband’s name? Immediately repeat it when you’re introduced, as in, “William, it’s really nice to meet you.” Then try to use his name once or twice more in short order, perhaps by introducing him to someone else (“Sally, this is William, Harriet’s husband.”). Then think of some distinct physical characteristic or personality trait that begins with the same letter as his name, the more distinct, the better (“Winking William” or “William Waste Management” are great examples). When you get home, write the name down with any pieces of information you can remember (writing by hand typically helps cement the thoughts better than typing them into a computer file).

Remembering a Book Title. For information that can be retrieved if you have enough of a head start, such as a few words of a title or the author’s last name, remembering just a key word or two is enough. Come up with a unique link between the title and the place you heard it, or the person who told you about it, or create a word picture in your mind. For instance, if your best friend tells you that you have to grab a copy of “Cutting for Stone” by Abraham Verghese, you might think, “Carrie Cutting,” or make a mental picture of Abraham Lincoln cutting the grass.

Remembering Your PIN Number or Password. The key to remembering numbers for the long-term is to choose a number that has some significance. Security experts caution against using common numbers such as your birthday, but you can choose less-obvious combinations like your zip code coupled with your birth year. You can make the password unique for each site you visit by adding the first letter of the web address; for instance, your password for Amazon might be 95030213A, and your password for Bank of America would be 95030213B.

Remembering Where You Left Your Keys (or Your Wallet or Your Cell Phone…). Experts estimate we waste an hour a day or more looking for misplaced items. That’s more than ten full days of our lives a year! Make the human tendency to be creatures of habit work to your advantage; make it a habit to always place your keys, cell phone, etc., in the same place. Consciously put the items in their appointed locale each time you come into the house, and actually say out loud to yourself, “I am putting my cell phone on my desk,” or, “I am leaving my keys on the dresser.” The combination of motion with audio keys will help cement the placement in your brain.

While it’s natural to forget things, by paying more conscious attention to your actions and how you’re storing information in your brain, you can make recalling that information quicker and easier, making life a little bit easier!

Flex Your Memory Muscle

Your mind is a muscle and just like any other muscle, you must continue to work it out if you want to keep it strong. There are some basic rules to any workout which must be followed with your mind as well. You must remember to warm up, then work out and finally, cool down. Let’s walk through the typical workout process for the mind.


Just like with any workout, the warm up is a critical part of the overall exercise session. The best and strongest physical trainers understand the importance of a warm up to keep the body healthy and limber. Without a proper warm up, exercise can actually hurt you. The warm up is meant to get your muscles used to the movements they are about to make.

Having a good warmup routine can make your memory work as it is supposed to and be able to recall numerous pieces of data and details. If you look at most great writers, artists or businesspeople, you will notice one thing in common. Each has a specific warm up routine to get them into the mental state needed to do their work. For a brain workout, warm ups can consist of a brief writing experiment or even some light reading.


The actual workout is where you begin to gain strength. As your mind is used to its full capacity, you increase your memory by leaps and bounds. With any workout, the trick to steady increase in strength is by constantly confusing your muscles so they constantly have to work hard in different functions. When you force your mind to undergo this training, enormous strength potential is released.

The workout can consist of anything from mind puzzles, being creative or even practicing chunking techniques, whereby you challenge yourself to remember groups of related or unrelated facts or figures. The point of the workout isn’t always to see how much you can bench, but at the same time, it is good to max out every now and again. Depending on what you are trying to accomplish, you can do burst training to help the short-term memory or you can work on the cardio endurance for long-term.

Top 10 Ways to Improve Your Memory

While there are commercial classes you can take to improve your memory, there are little changes you can make in your daily life that will have a big result on your ability to retain information. Here are ten easy ways to increase your power of recall:

1. Foster Curiosity – Become curious about the world around you. When you become curious, you begin to take interest in your surroundings. By establishing the habit of constant questioning and asking “What if?” “Why?” and “How?”, your brain will begin to take in information and facts more readily.

2. Attach Emotion – Scientists have discovered that by attaching an emotion to an event, it is more vividly burned into your mind. Because of the connection you now have with the event, it is almost unforgettable. If you can begin connecting emotions with your actions, your memory will become enhanced.

3. Move – Yes. Movement stimulates memory. Getting out and exercising is proven to boost your brain power. Some people even learn facts – state capitals, spelling words, vocabulary – more readily by moving while learning.

4. Have Fun – Just as with emotions, having fun with the information you’re trying to remember will help make it easier. Make a fun mnemonic, where you make up a story associated with the letters of the facts you’re hoping to absorb (example: My Very Eager Mother Jogs Southward Until Nearly Pooped is the planetary order – including Pluto!). Tell a story about the events that happened or just be silly with the details.

5. Get Lost – Have you ever gotten lost while driving around town? After you finally found your way, you were probably more comfortable the next time you drove around. Sometimes getting lost will heighten your senses enough for your brain to take in more information and hang on to visual cues.

6. Eat Healthy – Eating certain foods can have a positive effect on your memory. Scientists have proven that some foods, such as ginkgo biloba, cranberries, yellow fin tuna and even spinach can increase your memory.

7. Have a Conversation – Talking can actually increase your memory. Well, not just talking, but having a deep conversation about a subject. When you converse back and forth about a subject, your brain is forced to clarify thoughts and connect the dots.

8. Breathe – Taking deep breaths also increases your ability to retain information. By oxygen flooding to the brain, your senses are heightened and the blood vessels expand. As more oxygen rich blood flows to your brain, your memory is increased. By breathing, not only do you increase your mental capacity, but you also observe the calming and stress-relieving properties deep breathing has to offer.

9. Sleep – Sleeping helps to improve memory because when you sleep, your brain has a chance to connect and archive the information you’ve taken in over the course of the day. Once you hit REM, your brain begins connecting all of the details you’ve absorbed, which is why you sometimes have strange dreams. After the dots are connected, your brain stores the information for later use.

10. Work Puzzles – Even though you might not be the best at word puzzles or Sudoku, actively working those types of puzzles help increase brain strength. Just like working your biceps allows you to lift more weight, giving your brain a workout allows you to retain more information.

Improving your memory is probably easier than you imagined it to be. For the most part, doing daily activities with a purpose can improve your memory.

10 Foods To Improve Your Memory

Food is an easy way to improve your memory because you can build up the nutrients and chemicals needed for your brain to operate at maximum efficiency while also enhancing your overall health. Here are some of the best foods for your brain and your body:

Seafood – Many people refer to seafood as ‘brain food’ because of the proliferation of Omega-3 fatty acids in many fish and shellfish. Studies have shown that DHA, an Omega-3 fatty acid found in fish, actually helps to improve memory function and helps to develop the brain in infants and young children. In adults, this fatty acid helps to improve the working memory.

Water – Almost 85% of brain tissue is water, and dehydration can cause unnecessary energy expenditure. When your brain becomes dehydrated, it is harder to make connections and recall information. Stay hydrated and your brain will keep working at top level.

Blueberries –  The levels of antioxidants found in blueberries help slow down stress caused by oxidation of the brain. Not only do these chemicals help reduce the risk of mental diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia, as well as some cancers, they also can result in increased memory and motor skill function.

Black Currants – Black currants not only help protect brain cells, they are also jammed packed with anthocyanins and polyphenolics. These compounds are found in hippocampus cells, a part of the brain which helps usher in information to be remembered and stored in other parts of the brain. The darker the currant, the more rich in compounds they are.

Cherries – Jam-packed with antioxidants, cherries not only taste good, they are good brain food.  Antioxidants help to fight off free radicals, thereby helping blood flow easier to the brain. Without the free radicals, not only does more blood make it to the brain, but the blood is more nutrient-dense.

Ginger – Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties, which is why it is commonly used to treat many physical ailments. With reduced swelling, the brain is able to have a constant flow of blood to keep it fed and lubricated.

Gingko Biloba – While ginger acts as an anti-inflammatory to blood vessels, gingko biloba lessens the viscosity of the blood flowing through those vessels. Thinner blood means more blood will pass through the brain at a given time, therefore, more efficiency in oxygen delivery.

Eggplant – As a great source of anthocyanin and nasunin, eggplant helps to protect the lipids in brain cell membranes. These lipids help to keep some of the bad stuff out, like free radicals, while also keeping the good stuff in, like DHA.

Rosemary – Researchers have found that the carnosic acid in rosemary is neuroprotective and may play a role in the prevention of Alzheimer’s and other degenerative brain disorders. One study found that just the scent of rosemary improved the memory of office workers.

Soy Beans – While many scientists previously thought soy was damaging to the brain, new studies have shown soy to have protective qualities. Similar to lipids, these chemicals play a large role in the development of the brain; especially the parts which are responsible for memory.

Five Supplements to Improve Your Memory

Supplements are available to help aide in the boosting of your memory. Memories happen most easily when there is good blood supply to the brain. Just as with any other muscle, when the brain is getting a high amount of oxygen-rich blood, it is able to utilize its resources more efficiently. Supplements work by either boosting your blood flow, increasing the red blood cell supply, or even decreasing factors that reduce oxygen rich blood from reaching your brain.

Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo Biloba has been used for thousands of years in Asian cultures to cure a wide variety of ailments. Ginkgo works by increasing the blood flow throughout the body. With the blood vessels opened up, nutrients and oxygen can get to the brain easier. When this happens, memory is increased because of the higher efficiency.

St. John’s Wort

St. John’s Wort is mainly used as a natural anti-depressant. While scientists are still partly unsure about how St. John’s Wort works to treat depression, they hypothesize that the hypericin contained in the blend helps to elevate biochemicals in the brain, which in turn affect your mood. Attaching an emotion to an event is a sure-fire way to increase memory. When the dopamine and serotonin are released in the brain, the concurrent emotions stimulated help to burn the memory into the brain.

Alpha-lipoic Acid

As an antioxidant, alpha-lipoic acid helps the body neutralize free radicals. What makes alpha-lipoic acid special is that it functions in both water and fat, unlike many other vitamins. With the free radicals out of the way, antioxidants can help move fat away from the brain, allowing more blood flow to reach into the smaller nooks and crannies. Again, with the blood flow increased, memory thrives.


Scientists have studied Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and found that it is instrumental to the function of brain cell membranes, which help to transmit brain signals. A lack of omega-3s can actually cause a breakdown in the communication lines of your brain, which leads to poor memory as well as loss of physical functions. There is no surprise why fish, high in Omega-3 fatty acids such as DHA, is commonly referred to as “brain food.”

Peppermint Extract

Skeptical about an essential oil’s ability to increase memory? Well, there are studies to show that peppermint extract can do just that. Peppermint extract helps to clear up your nasal passages, allowing higher oxygen intake. The more oxygen you breathe in, the better chance more oxygen will make it to your brain.

Utilizing these different supplements can have a dramatic effect on your memory. Not only will you be more aware of your surroundings, you will also take in more information and be able to retain it. While it is a good idea to continue to give your brain a workout, a few performance enhancement supplements might just help you get over the hump.

Exercises to Boost Memory

Exercising boosts your strength, and exercising your mind boosts memory. But can physical exercise actually increased your memory too? It turns out there are both physical and mental exercises you can perform to increase the efficiency of your memory and keep your mind in top shape. Let’s take a look at a few physical exercises as well as some mental tips and tricks to give your memory the boost it needs.


Any physical exercise which gets your blood flowing is great for increasing blood flow to your brain and therefore boosting your memory. But there are specific physical exercises you can do to get your mind working harder.

Exercises involving balance stimulate the memory by requiring the mind to work to stabilize the body. Your brain becomes a direct path for each limb. Examples of exercises like this would include using a balance ball, a balance table, or for the extreme daredevil, slacklining.

When you take in large amounts of oxygen, your blood flow to the brain becomes more efficient. Long distance sports, like running or swimming, force the body to take in more oxygen. When this oxygen gets to your brain, it is like increasing the power to a lightbulb. With this oxygen, your brain can function better and actually store more information.

While it may not be as much of a physical exercise as it is mental stimulation, doing physical movements in a different manner will actually increase your memory. Try batting or golfing on your less-agile side, or changing your grip while playing ping-pong. This challenge keeps your brain from getting complacent by forcing you to use your faculties in unusual ways. You might also try showering, getting dressed, or making a bowl of cereal with your eyes closed.


Chunking is a technique some people use to work on memory storage. Chunking uses short-term memory to recall a certain set of numbers or ideas. For an adult, a normal memory range is about seven pieces of data (no coincidence that this is the length of the standard telephone number!). Once that number is reached, any new data just replaces some of the old. The problem is, you never know which old piece the new data bit replaced.

Utilizing nonsense is another way to help boost your memory. By making up sentences or silly mnemonics to go along with some information, your mind will remember based on the fact it was nonsense. Some people use this technique to remember directions or a series of events, and might be helpful for your thoughts and ideas.

Whether you are doing physical exercise, or working a crossword puzzle, you can reap the benefits if you are diligent. As with any good muscle, the more the brain is worked out, the stronger it will become.

App Review: Top Smart-Phone Memory Improvement Apps

One of the greatest benefits of today’s multi-function smart phones is the ability to have virtually anything you want at your fingertips. So instead of having to carry around notebooks and other memory boosting paraphernalia, you can achieve the same results with your smart phone. Let’s take a look at the three most highly used platforms of smart phones, the iPhone, Android and BlackBerry, and look at memory-improvement apps for each.


Most of the applications for the iPhone which focus on memory-building are the memory match games like the kind played with actual cards. In particular, iCue Memory Cards is a great example.

iCue Memory Cards is actually the only memory training application officially endorsed by the USA Memory Championship. The application is the exact same version as the actual cards found in the original game.

iCue works to improve your memory by focusing your concentration and using some of the leading memory improvement techniques available today. How would you like to be able to memorize an entire deck of cards as they are being dealt? By the time you are finished with this app, you will be card counting in Vegas.


Blink is an ideal memory game for the Android fan. Starting off with a sequence of colored blocks, you are forced to recount the pattern. Just like most video games, as the levels increase, so does the difficulty. With colored blocks randomly placed all over the screen, you must tap each one in sequence. After so many levels the blocks begin to play tricks on you to make it even harder. While the eye strain can become bothersome, it’s still a fun and challenging game to try.


Reminiscant of Simon, the game of lights and sounds, Follow the Light is an exciting childhood memorization game. While the computer plays a tone and light, you are tasked with remembering the sequence. The basis of this game is to repeat the pattern the computer produces until you complete the level or make a mistake. As you advance, the colors will change faster and the tone sequence will speed up. If you are in the mood for a walk down memory lane, grab this app in the App World.

For all three smart phone platforms, there are plenty of other learning games, especially those designed for children. The easiest way to find the application you want is to go to the appropriate app store and do a search on “memory” or “memory games.” Then download and start using them!

Books, Guides, and Resources for Memory Improvement

Your Memory: How It Works and How to Improve It
~ Kenneth L. Higbee ~

With this book, it’s possible to stop forgetting appointments, birthdays, and other important dates. You’ll learn how to work more efficiently at your job, study less and get better grades, and remember the names and faces of people you meet. This book will help you expand your memory abilities beyond what you thought possible. These are simple techniques that can be incorporated into your everyday life. Now you can remember details you would have otherwise forgotten, and overcome general absentmindedness. Also included is a section on the aging process and how it affects memory. This is a useful guide at any age.

The Memory Book: The Classic Guide to Improving Your Memory at Work, at School, and at Play~ Harry Lorayne and Jerry Lucas ~

This guide is a simple memory system that, when applied, will help you become more effective, more imaginative, and more efficient at work, school, and other areas in your life. Discover the powerful tools to learn how to file phone numbers, data, figures, and appointments right in your head.  You’ll also learn techniques for reading with more ease in order to retain more information.

The Original Memory Game
~ Hasbro ~

Kids have been developing and improving memory capacity for generations with this game. This is a simple game of matching. Just flip over cards, two at a time, trying to make a match. If you find the same two cards, you keep them. Find the most pairs and you’re the winner. The game includes 72 picture cards and a plastic storage tray. Children develop while playing games, and this game with its fanciful drawings make it fun to play while developing concentration and memory. Perfect for all ages.

Brainfit: 10 Minutes a Day for a Sharper Mind and Memory
~ Corinne Gediman and Dr. Francis Michael Crinella Ph.D ~

It’s time to reclaim your brain! For anyone concerned about the mental aging process, these fast and fun weekly brain ‘workouts’ focus on different aspects of brain fitness. In just a 10 minute workout, you’ll enjoy a method that is entertaining and results oriented. You’ll find weekly exercise planners for your daily routine, as well as games and brain teasers to power up your memory capabilities, along with suggestions to keep your memory sharper every day.

Harvard Medical School Guide to Achieving Optimal Memory (Harvard Medical School Guides)~ Aaron Nelson and Susan Gilbert ~

From leaders in the field of brain and memory research, this is the latest guide to help you improve your brain health. This guide covers how lifestyle affects memory. Factors such as sleep, nutrition, and exercise are all considered. You’ll find proven ways to build your memory power. You’ll also find concise information on how to tell what is “normal” memory as we age, and what to do about “senior moments.” If you’ve been confused lately by the medical myths about memory loss, this is the guide to help answer all your questions.

The Memory Workbook: Breakthrough Techniques to Exercise Your Brain and Improve Your Memory~Douglas J. Mason, Michael Lee Kohn, and Karen A. Clark ~

Think of memory like modeling clay; it needs energy to give it form. When you stop ‘forming’ your memory, it becomes stagnant. This workbook helps regain positive energy to rewire mental habits that interfere with proper memory functioning. You’ll find practical solutions based on scientific research to help at any age.  Through specific techniques, exercises, games, and puzzles, readers learn how to focus the senses to imprint information and retain memories in a clearer, more concise way. Along with these strategies, this book also provides information on memory disorders, medications, and resources for help.

Quantum Memory Power: Learn to Improve Your Memory with the World Memory Champion~ Dominic O’Brien ~

The author of this CD audio book is the 7-time world memory champion. The tools used by O’Brien are shared in this book so you, too, can develop a healthy, incredible memory with unlimited capacity. You’ll find practical memory exercises to strengthen your abilities in order to retain and learn faster. You’ll also learn about how your brain operates, how to improve your decision making process, how to improve your concentration, and how to train your brain to file information for access later.  Having a healthy memory not only helps with simple fact retrieval, it helps build self-confidence.

A Better Brain at Any Age: The Holistic Way to Improve Your Memory, Reduce Stress, and Sharpen Your Wits~ Sondra Komblatt ~

This book approaches the brain and memory abilities in a holistic way, including total body health through exercise, healthy food consumption, and relaxation. You’ll also find specific strategies and methods to boost brain and memory power. The focus of this book is on mind-body connection, which include your environment, food, learning style, emotions, and meditation.  Learn how your brain interacts with the body, and what habits impact the brain, positively and negatively. Along with this you’ll find tips for strengthening memory, cognition, and creativity so you can function better in your everyday life.

The Memory Doctor: Fun Simple Techniques to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brain Power~ Douglas J. Mason ~

If you have trouble finding your keys, remembering names or appointments, don’t fret; The Doctor is in! Memory loss doesn’t mean we’re losing our mind. It often is a result of stress or simple lack of exercise – doing our brain “workouts.” Because we are bombarded with information, we actually can lose the ability to get the information into the brain in the first place, let alone remember it. Memory is a process; learn the steps for remembering, and your memory will improve. This guide walks you through fun strategies to sharpen your memory, as well as lifestyle changes that will help you gain and retain more of the information you need.

Improving Your Memory for Dummies~ John B. Arden PhD ~

The Dummies folks have done it again!  This book provides the reader with practical tips and techniques to make remembering stuff easy.  Exercise your brain to jog your memory at home (where did I leave those keys?), at work (when was that project due?), or anywhere (what was her name again?).  This guide offers sound advice and clever tips and tricks for remembering the things we need to remember. Understand how your memory works and learn how to make it work for you, all with a dash of humor.

Cool Down

Once you have worked out, you need to bring your energy levels down slowly. When you fail to cool down your physical muscles, lactic acid builds up and renders your muscles useless. When it comes to your mind, it works the same way. By constantly using your mind, it can become tired and worn out.

Giving yourself a chance to cool down with some light reading, a little yoga or even a night on the town is a great way to prevent mental burnout. For best results, follow this three-step process for your next brain workout: Warm up. Work out. Cool down.

2 Responses to “A Memory Muscle Workout.”

  1. Ralph Torgeson says:

    I am surprised by the data in this blog I found it to be not just extremely motivating but it also made me think. It is tough now a days to search out related information to ones search, so I’m pleased that I found this article post

  2. Euna Litscher says:

    Interesting blog! So far i have liked all 4 posts i have read.

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