A good memory isn’t something a lot of us spend much time cultivating, but having one can have many direct and indirect benefits. You may never have considered memory a part of your overall health. I’d like to suggest a few points that may persuade you to do just that.
Two Basic Types of Memory
Short-term (“active”) memory is exactly what it sounds like: the capacity to temporarily hold onto memories. If you haven’t seen the movie Memento, then 1) shame on you now go watch it, and 2) it depicts an unnerving condition (rare but real) in which a man has no short-term memory–at all! This makes it very hard for him to solve a lengthy murder mystery because he has to take drastic measures just to remember the clues. In your case, just ask yourself if you can remember…
…all examples of tasks for your short-term memory.
Long-term memory involves things like remembering an old phone number for a decade, chronology of long-past events, where you were when Joey Chestnut finally brought the mustard yellow belt back to America where it belongs. Those sorts of things. For what it’s worth, in 2003 Kobayashi lost to this bear, and I suspect that the bear, the belt’s rightful owner, was American anyway.
What does memory have to do with health?
A healthy memory is part of a healthy mind. Do the phrases “healthy body, healthy mind” or the “mind-muscle connection,” or “it’s all mental” sound familiar? If any of those are even partially true, investing in your memory is making an investment in your mind, which could lead to greater bodily health.
Consider the following statements
These statements were gathered from recent memory/health studies (reading list appears below). Of course, studies can show you whatever you want to see, so if you’re interested in exploring this topic further, use these studies as starting points, not the final word.
They suggest that
1. Strength training is good for you
2. Naps are good for you
3. Lowering bad cholesterol and having enough good cholesterol is good for you
4. Eating less can be good for you
5. Maintaining your mental faculties while aging is good for you and your quality of life.
Who’d have thought, huh? I imagine that 1-5 don’t surprise you and they are thing we should all be doing anyway. That a nap, a workout, reduced calories, and reining in your cholesterol might also improve your memory may not have been common knowledge. It wasn’t to me.
Being actively healthy is about constantly taking steps to be healthier. You can’t rely solely on anyone else’s research, because nobody else can make you healthier. Now then:
What say you?
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments box.
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McGinnis, Marianne; 20-Minute Brainpower boost; Prevention; Apr2009, Vol. 61 Issue 4, p80-80, 2/5p
New Scientist; Eat a Little Less, Remember More; 1/31/2009, Vol. 201 Issue 2693, p15-15, 1p
Shute, Nancy; Brain Decline; U.S. News & World Report, 2/1/2009, Vol. 146 Issue 1, p68-69, 2p
Tufts University Health & Nutrition Newsletter; Good Cholesterol Linked to Better Memory; Oct2008, Vol. 26 Issue 8, p1-2, 2p
Whitfield, John; Naps For Better Recall; Scientific American; May2008, Vol. 298 Issue 5, p32-32, 1p, 1 colo