how to improve memory

Photo: Adam Voorhes

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What I was younger, I had little trouble rattling off lots of information—phone numbers, names, random facts—but these days, remembering anything with that level of detail seems a lot harder. It's easy to blame a forgetful mind on aging. The real culprit, however, may be a kind of neurological laziness: We have cell phones to save numbers, GPS to guide us down the road, and the Internet for everything else, making memorization much less necessary than it once was. As a result, the memory centers of our brain aren't being exercised the way they used to be. But with more than 80 billion neurons and trillions of connections between them, your brain is capable of storing far more than you may realize. The key is to give your mental muscles the right kind of exercise. Here's how: