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Health Tip: Shape Up With Mind Aerobics

Here are some ways to improve your memory

(HealthDay News) -- Talk to anyone over a certain age and they will joke about senior moments - lapses in memory.

Underlying the humor is a fear of developing Alzheimer's disease or senile dementia. Their concern isn't unfounded, because nearly 5 percent of people aged 65 and older (and a much larger proportion over 80) do get Alzheimer's.

However, there is mounting evidence that memory lapses don't necessarily foreshadow dementia, and that doing mind aerobics can reduce the risk.

Here's a 10-step memory workout courtesy of AARP:

1. Exercise regularly: Studies have shown that aerobic fitness may reduce the loss of brain tissue common in aging.

2. Stick to a healthy diet: Avoid sugar and saturated fat. And eat lots of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables such as blueberries, spinach and beets. The magnesium found in dark green, leafy vegetables appears to help maintain memory.

3. Learn new things: Mastering activities you've never done before, such as playing the piano or learning a foreign language, stimulates neuron activity.

4. Get enough sleep: Too little sleep impairs concentration.

5. Devise memory strategies: Make notes or underline key passages to help you remember what you've read. Invent mnemonics formulas to help you remember things.

6. Socialize: Conversation, especially positive, meaningful interaction, helps maintain brain function.

7. Get organized: Designate a place for important items such as keys and checkbooks. Keep checklists for things such as daily medications or items to pack when you travel.

8. Turn off the tube: Experts say too much TV watching weakens brain power.

9. Jot down new information: Writing helps transfer items from short to long-term memory.

10. Solve brainteasers: Crossword puzzles, card games and board games such as Scrabble improve your memory.

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