Memory Training Exercises

Improve your working memory with these brain training exercises

September 16, 2023
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Memory is a critical aspect of overall cognitive health. It provides the basis for learning, reasoning, and decision-making. 

However, as you age, your memory can decline, leading to forgetfulness, confusion, and even dementia. Fortunately, research has shown that memory training exercises can be a game-changer for some people.

Memory training exercises involve specific activities that target different types of memory, such as working memory and long-term memory. These exercises are designed to improve memory function by increasing your brain’s plasticity and strengthening neural connections. 

In this article, we'll explore the benefits of memory training programs and provide an overview of the different types of memory exercises available. We'll also discuss how you can incorporate these exercises into your daily routine to help maintain or improve your cognitive health.

What Are memory exercises?

Memory training exercises are a specific type of cognitive training that focus on improving your working memory, which is the ability to hold and manipulate information in your mind for a short period of time. 

There are many different types of memory exercises, including those that involve repeating lists of words or numbers, visualizing objects or scenes, and playing memory games. These exercises can be done with or without the help of technology and can be tailored to your individual needs and preferences.

Memory exercises differ from other cognitive training methods in that they are highly targeted toward improving memory function. While other cognitive training methods may focus on multiple cognitive functions, like attention or problem-solving, memory exercises are specifically designed to improve working memory. This makes them highly effective at producing significant improvements in a short amount of time—so effective that studies have shown even short-term participation in memory training programs can lead to improvements in working memory performance.

How cool is that?

3 types of memory exercises

Memory exercises come in several different types, each with its own unique benefits: 

  1. Rehearsal memory exercises: These exercises involve repeating information over and over to help it stick in your short-term memory. This can be useful for remembering phone numbers, names, or other short lists of items. 
  2. Association memory exercises: These exercises involve linking new information to something you already know. For example, if you're trying to remember a new phone number, you might associate it with a familiar date or address.
  3. Visualization memory exercises: These exercises involve creating mental images of information to help remember it, and chunking, which involves breaking down larger pieces of information into smaller, more manageable chunks. These exercises can be done individually or as part of a structured memory training program.

Some studies have shown that regular participation in memory training exercises like these can lead to improvements in memory performance, even among older adults.

Doing fun brain workouts can help your memory

There are several brain workouts that can enhance memory, and each technique has its own unique benefits: 

  • Chunking: This brain workout involves breaking down information into smaller, more manageable chunks. This technique can be particularly useful when trying to remember long lists of items or complex information. For example, if you're trying to remember a grocery list, you might group items into categories such as fruits, vegetables, and dairy.
  • Visualization: This brain workout involves creating mental images to help you remember information. This technique can be useful for remembering names, faces, and other visual information. For example, if you're trying to remember a person's name, you might visualize it written in big letters on their forehead.
  • Repetition: This brain workout involves repeating information over and over to help it stick in your short-term memory. This technique can be useful for remembering phone numbers, addresses, and other short lists of items.

In addition to these techniques, there are other brain workouts that can enhance memory such as mnemonic devices, which involve creating associations between new information and existing knowledge or experiences. There are also various memory games and puzzles that can help exercise your brain and improve memory function.

The science behind why these brain workouts are effective is rooted in the way your brain processes and stores information. When you learn new information, it’s encoded in your brains through a process called consolidation. This process involves creating new neural connections between neurons in the brain. And the more you practice recalling this information through brain workouts such as chunking, visualization, and repetition, the stronger these neural connections become.

How a memory drill a day can keep your brain fog away

Memory drills are another effective way to improve memory function, and there are many different exercises that can be easily incorporated into your daily routine. 

One simple exercise is to try to remember a list of items, such as a grocery list or a to-do list, without writing them down. This exercise strengthens your short-term memory by forcing you to hold onto information in your mind for an extended period.

Another memory drill that can be easily incorporated into your daily routine is called association. This involves linking new information to something you already know. For example, if you're trying to remember someone's name, you might associate it with a visual image or a personal story. This technique can help you remember information more effectively by creating strong associations between new and existing knowledge.

You can also try playing memory games, such as "Simon Says" or "Memory Match," which can help improve your working memory and attention span. These games challenge your brain to recall visual and auditory information while also requiring you to focus on specific cues.

Visual aids or video links can be helpful for demonstrating these exercises. For example, there are many online tutorials and videos that demonstrate memory drills such as association and visualization. These resources can help you learn new techniques and incorporate them into your daily routine more effectively.

The cognitive benefits of memory exercises

And speaking of your daily routine: Have you ever thought about adding cognitive training to your mornings, afternoons, or evenings?

Cognitive training methods, including memory training exercises, can offer memory improvement, especially when done consistently. Scientific studies have shown that participants who completed memory training programs had improvements in both short-term and long-term memory compared to a control group. These benefits can last for years after the training program has ended.

Generally speaking, memory training programs typically involve a series of cognitive exercises designed to challenge and stimulate your brain. These exercises can include tasks such as memorizing lists of words or recalling sequences of numbers. By repeatedly practicing these exercises, you can improve your working memory and enhance your ability to store and retrieve information.

To create a cognitive training regimen, it's important to set realistic goals and track your progress over time. So start by identifying areas where you’d like to improve your cognitive function, such as memory or attention span. Then, find cognitive training programs or exercises that target those specific areas.

And like we just mentioned, cognitive training is most effective when done consistently over time. In practice, that means setting aside regular time slots throughout the week for brain exercises.

Bonus tip: It's also important to challenge yourself by gradually increasing the difficulty level of the exercises over time.

Finally, in addition to structured cognitive training programs, there are also many everyday strategies that can help improve memory function. For example, staying mentally engaged through activities such as reading, playing games, and socializing can help keep your brain active and healthy.

The Elevate app: brain training boot camp for memory training

The Elevate app is another great tool for improving your memory skills

Elevate has memory games that are specifically designed to keep your brain engaged while building your short- and long-term memory skills. They're rooted in real-word scenarios while borrowing gameplay from classic brain teasers and problem-solving puzzles, meaning they’re equal parts fun and effective. 

Here’s a video overview of Elevate’s memory games:

To summarize:

  1. Elevate’s Focus game helps you improve your concentration while listening and exercising your short-term memory.
  2. The Retention game helps you practice using your short-term memory to recall lists of items. 
  3. The Synthesis game teaches you how to retain details of conversations by linking dates with names and places. 
  4. The Sequencing game teaches the chunking technique and helps you practice recalling directions and the order of events. 
  5. The Name Recall game teaches you how to use mnemonics to remember people’s names. 

Plus, many people who use the Elevate brain training app have seen big improvements in their memory. Just check out a few of the app’s reviews: 

  • “Elevate is the best game ever found to improve memory.”
  • “My memory has improved over the last 3 years and my neurologist attributes this to playing Elevate!”
  • “It really helps improve my memory and keeps my brain from forgetting the things I already know. It also teaches me some new things now and then!”

Start improving your working memory today

As you can see, incorporating memory exercises into your daily routine is easy and can have a significant impact on your cognitive function. By setting realistic goals and tracking your progress over time, you can stay motivated and make steady progress toward better memory skills.

And if you want to take the first step toward improving your memory right now, download the Elevate brain training app on iOS or Android. You’ll get personalized brain training workouts, plus 40+ games backed by science and designed to improve your vocabulary, mental math, and of course, your memory skills

So what are you waiting for? Download Elevate and start improving your memory skills today!


The science of brain training

  • Training cognitive skills can improve brain function. Think of it like a workout for your mind. Read on to learn how brain games can help.  

The best learning games for adults

  • Discover the benefits of brain games, which are an effective way to keep your mind sharp and active. 

The importance of mental fitness

  • Mental fitness refers to the ability to sustain your overall well-being. Learn tips to improve yours.
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