Rock Creature
That's me taking a picture of it at Newport Beach R.I. Notice its head on the right, one eye is showing. It appears to have a trunk or some sort of a beak. On the left of the body you can see its big fat tail that curled up as it died. It has a big round body. Its legs are not seen, they're under the body. I call it the Rock Creature because it has the ability to blend in with the many boulders along Newport shores.

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The Best Memory Exercise of All

The Best Gadget of All

The Management

The Best Memory Exercise of All

If, in any two years of adult life, men could learn as much as an infant learns in his first two years, they would have the capacity of genius. ~Ayn Rand

…Specialization is for insects. ~Robert A. Heinlein

In The Best Gadget of All, I wrote that exercise is the best way to deal with your physical disability. Here I present the best way to cope with your aging brain.
People have been dealing with memory problems for ages.

No doubt various methods have been tried, some more successful than others. In 500BC Pythagoras practiced memory retention techniques. He exercised and recited poems before and after sleep.  You might say he discovered the ‘right angle’ for exercising his memory.
The HowStuffWorks website summarizes most of the memory exercises that you will find today. Note that there are 11 pages devoted to memory exercises.
I’ve tried many of the methods mentioned in this website. With some I’ve stuck with longer then others. The only system I still use most consistently is the one of keeping a daily activity log.
In addition to the above free information there are also various brain training software packages that you can buy.
All these systems require an effort on your part. You need to learn them and you need to remember to apply them.
I think they’re all good memory techniques and you may be using them more successfully than I was ever able to do. But when you recite poetry, do puzzles, play chess or train with a brain improvement program what you’re doing is you’re only exercising a portion of your brain. In other words, you’re specializing.
So what is the best, the more wide ranging brain exercise?
It’s a combination of two things. Physical exercise is one of them.
This animal study shows how exercise improves learning and memory. As my old high school health teacher used to say, a healthy body is a healthy mind. Exercise should be a regular part of your life. Pythagoras knew that 25 centuries ago.
The second and if not more important part of brain exercise is maintaining a novel and stimulating environment. Other animal studies bear this out.
From Page 2 of the HowStuffWorks website:
“While puzzles and games are obvious choices for keeping memory sharp, it also helps to expose yourself to new and interesting environments. Research with animals has clearly shown that novel, stimulating environments can stop the brain from shrinking with age and actually improve brain-cell connections and boost memory skills.”
Children are born with an eagerness to learn. They possess a kind of a curiosity mechanism. All is new to them. They absorb knowledge like a sponge. Their brains make new connections each time they learn something new. Scientist used to think that adult brains just loose connections and never make new ones. The above quote points out that that isn’t so. The same mechanism of curiosity and eagerness to learn found in children can be applied by you. Of course just as for any other memory system, this one too requires an effort on your part.
Study the suggestions given on Page 2. See what portions of them can apply to your life. Take the advice of two of my most favorite people; try to be more like a toddler and less like an insect.
Editor’s note:
Future brain topics will cover brain supplements, brain plasticity, will power, Dementia, Alzheimer and other disease of the brain.

September 2010