8 Ways to Improve Your Bridge Memory
BRIDGE is a complicated and intriguing card game, for which having a good memory is the secret to success. Looking for ways to improve your Bridge memory is a good idea considering the amount the average Bridge player has to remember. Firstly the rules of the game are expansive, then there’s the rather important matter of remembering your agreed bidding strategies with your partner and to top it off one has to be able to recognise, interpret and remember the bidding strategies of your opponents!
So we decided to curate 8 ways to improve your Bridge memory from the low tech to high tech.
1. Learning a Second Language
To some of you lucky enough, this might be something you have already mastered, perhaps you were raised bi-lingual or simply had natural flair or a strong reason to learn (which is half the battle).
Improves Your Memory and Recall
Learning a language improves your memory through the constant cycle of committing and recalling new information. This in turn increases the plasticity of your brain, which again enables far more new information to be learnt. The process in effect becomes a virtuous circle.
Keeps Your Brain Young
Another advantage of learning a second language is that it can help towards maintaining the agility and efficiency seen in much younger brains. A 2013 study by the The American Academy of Neurology discovered that the onset of all types of dementia in 100% bilingual people was delayed by 4.5 years irrespective of literacy levels, education, sex, occupation, and urban or rural locality.
2. Use a Brain Training App
Modern technology has many wonderful uses, especially when it comes to playing Bridge on the move!
Memrise is one of the most flexible brain training apps available. It allows you to learn pretty much anything, from a new language, through to cramming for a test. The content for the app can be created by anyone. At the time of writing nobody has created anything specifically for Bridge. Perhaps you could be the first person to do so? If you do – be sure to let us know!
Peak is fun app that differs vastly from Memrise as it is designed to develop and improve different types of cognitive ability in a structured way through colourful and engaging games.
Both Memrise and Peak log your performance, though Peak provides far more stats for those of you that love data and data analysis.
These are only two apps of the many that are available for both iPhone/iPad on the App Store and Android devices on Google Play
3. Regular Exercise
This may sound strange but a number of studies have suggested that regular exercise increases the volume of two areas of the brain used for memory and thinking. Exercise, especially when sustained, regular and moderate, changes the body’s overall chemistry meaning that conditions in the brain become optimal for growth.
Exercise also improves your mood and sleep patterns, and reduces stress and anxiety. These combined benefits all help to contribute to overall cognitive function and wellbeing.
To read more about the study visit Harvard Medical School’s Blog
4. Eat & Drink Healthily
The old adage garbage in garbage out applies here. Your body can only perform optimally if it gets the right raw materials. By extension your brain needs the best it can get in order for it to perform well. Including its ability to remember well and think quickly.
Nutrient rich foods – lots of fruit, vegetables and lean meat like chicken, turkey and fish – are particularly good as your body doesn’t have to work so hard to get the goodness from them. Oily fish like mackerel contains omega-3 which is brilliant for brain function.
Alongside eating healthy things, what you drink is also important. Drinking alchohol in any of its wide and varied forms, although to most is pleasurable to consume, comes with a distinct drawback. It stymies the growth of new neurons. So if you’re trying to improve your memory (which involves growing new neurons) then alcohol is probably best avoided or reduced.
5. Take up a New Hobby
Developing a new skill or interest breaks routine, which helps to cultivate new pathways in the brain. New hobbies can also encourage creative and new ways of thinking. If you indulge in a consuming creative pursuit such as painting or drawing, your mind clears and problems you have been thinking about in your subconcious have added room for the rest of your brain to work on. In these moments a flash of insight or a new solution may become apparent to something you’ve been mulling over for a while.
6. Listen to Classical Music
Listening to classical music can be transformative to brain function. This is due to the fact that listening to music represents a complex cognitive function of the human brain. In a 2015 Finnish study classical music was proven to influence the gene profiles in the participants that took part. Researcher found that listening to music influenced gene activity, especially those involved learning and memory.
7. Spend Time with Friends
Spending time with or chatting over the phone with friends for as little as 10 minutes has been shown to improve memory function. So what better excuse than to organise a game of Bridge – it’s good for your health!
8. Smelling Rosemary Essential Oil
Rosemary has long been linked to improved memory function, even as far back as the Tudors and Henry VIII. Only recently has the link proven to be true. Smelling an infusion of the essential oil from Rosemary can lead to an increase in memory of up to 75%! Pretty impressive.
Ways to improve your Bridge memory can be a fun and life changing, not to mention the fringe benefit of actually improving your next game of Bridge!
Renowned Bridge author Ron Klinger has written a book specifically on the subject of improving the memory within the context of Bridge.