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5 ways to sharpen your memory

Can’t find your keys again? While it’s natural to lose brain cells as you age, take these steps to boost your memory’s muscle:

  1. Go for a run. Exercise increases blood flow to the brain, possibly encouraging new cell growth. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week.
  2. Learn another language. You need to exercise your brain as well as your body. Experts say your brain will continue to grow if you challenge it. Take up a new hobby, read an interesting book, learn a new skill. If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.
  3. Eat blueberries. A diet rich in antioxidants—substances found in vividly colored fruits and vegetables like blueberries, oranges and tomatoes—may help protect and strengthen brain cells.
  4. Give up unhealthy vices. Don’t drink in excess. Alcohol impairs thinking and can permanently damage brain cells. Quit smoking—the habit increases your risk for Alzheimer’s.
  5. Listen to music. Taking the time to relax helps to decompress. Chronic stress causes the brain to release cell-damaging hormones.