Remember these four words and see if you can recall them by the time you finish reading this article: apple, penny, key, admire.

Have you ever noticed that as you get older, time just seems to fly by? Time doesn’t speed up as we age, but this perception is a result of your ageing brain and the loss of neural connections. In other words your memory, or lack of it, plays a huge part in your perception of time passing quickly.

Use it or lose it

Scientific research has proven that an active brain is a healthier brain. We all know muscles lose strength and power from lack of exercise, but it’s ironic we often forget that our brain needs stimulation to maintain cognitive, reasoning, and memory functions.

If you let your brain power diminish as you age, you may end up impacting your quality of life now and into the future. Doesn’t everybody want to perform at their peak in their professional life and remain nimble, sharp, focused and independent as we age?

According to the brainHQ website, memories are made up of what you sense – what you see, hear, taste, smell, and feel.

“When memory fails, it’s not because you forgot how to remember. It’s because your brain isn’t processing what you see and hear very clearly, so can only store “fuzzy” pictures of an event.”

Exercising the brain maintains healthy neural pathways, improves focus, and increases attention span and creativity. Importantly, you not only maintain memory capacity, but you can improve it. How?

Here are some simple techniques you can use to boost your memory:

  • Write down (so you can see it) or say out loud (so you can hear it) things that you need to remember – such as your shopping list
  • During a meeting, seminar, or in any situation, focus on what you can hear, see, smell, and feel to increase your memory of even the smallest detail
  • Visualise the things, facts, or events you will need to recall later - this works just like when you look at old holiday photos and how it jogs a your memory about the details of that particular place and experience

You can also maximize your memory and brain function by having fun!

Games enhance brain function

Games that increase spatial awareness, finger dexterity, depth perception and differentiation between images, shapes and colours are just a few of the benefits of engaging in brain-boosting activities. A jigsaw puzzle (I love those 1000 piece tiny puzzles) will test all of these areas and establish neural pathways that force your brain to compare what you see with what you feel, incorporating those two senses together.

Classic board games such as chess will keep brain cells active and firing on all cylinders, improving strategizing, thinking and reasoning skills. Crossword puzzles are not just a fun thing to do on Sunday morning with a hot cuppa, but they increase and encourage memory retention, literally forcing the brain to recall links between word definitions, descriptions and language.

You can also carry out simple day-to-day chores differently to challenge your brain. When was the last time you tried brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand? How about throwing a ball? Try it. The results can be hilarious, but very beneficial. You'll discover that coordination is all in your mind.

There is a plethora of online mind games available at your fingertips, but a great one I found is on Sharp Brains. Check out their top 50 brain games and teasers.

You're never too old or too busy to keep your mind active and stimulated. You're never too old or too busy to play a game once in a while, and you're most certainly never too old or too busy to enjoy a good laugh.

How powerful is your memory and focus? Can you remember the four words from the start of this article?

Author's Bio: 

Coach, author, speaker, teacher and entrepreneur, Heidi Alexandra Pollard, The Communicators’ Coach publishes Value Ad, a free monthly ezine for smart, savvy professionals who want more prosperity, passion and purpose in life. If you’re ready to jump start your success, make more money and have more fun doing it then get your FREE tips now at © Leading Value 2012.