5 Brain Exercises That Ensure Memory Improvement

brain exercises magnetic memory method podcastLots of people do brain exercises, often in the form of brain games. You’ve probably even tried a few, right?

That’s all fine and dandy, but there’s a catch:

Playing brain exercise games on your “smart phone” is not necessarily brain exercise. Not by a long shot.


Brain Exercises Or Brain Thinners?


In fact, some of those brain games don’t exercise your brain at all.

You don’t have to take my word for it either. Just check out all the people on this live call who totally agreed:

Instead of helping you, those apps train your brain to get good at completing tasks within the world of those apps. The mental fitness doesn’t apply to other parts of your life.

And as we discussed in the video above, your memory and brain fitness exercises need to be both the dojo and the exercise.


Use Concrete Brain Exercises And Avoid Abstract Ones


Bottom line:

If you’re exercising your brain on an abstract level but not directing the fitness at specific life improvement goals, you’re missing out. Your brain fitness must be targeted at specific goals so you get tangible results.

And if you’d like brain exercises that do improve your mind and give you a great mental workout that matters, give the following easy exercises a try. I promise they’ll be fun and give you a memory improvement boost in a short period of time.

By the way, if you also want a detailed list of methods that will improve your memory and help you remember everything better, please check out:

How to Remember Things: 21 Techniques For Memory Improvement.

And in case you weren’t aware that you can listen to me narrating this post, click play here and I’ll happily speak to you as you discover these powerful brain exercises.


1. The 4-Details Observation Exercise


Gary Small talks about memorizing four details of people you encounter out in public.

For example, let’s say someone is wearing a gray sweater, black hat, red belt and green shoes. The goal is to observe the details first and then recall them later.

Some scientists call brain exercises like these “passive memory training.” They’re passive because you’re not using any special memory techniques. You’re just asking your mind to do what it was designed to do: remember.

Why does this matter?

It matters because we don’t ask our minds to practice observation enough.

For that reason, we fail to observe. We also fail to observe things that we aren’t seeing, such as by making visual images of movements we hear in other rooms. I teach about how to complete this simple visualization and memory exercise in this video.

If you’d like to be a better observer of the world around you, this exercise will help.

It’s also scalable. You can start with observing just one person per day. Once you’ve gotten good at recalling four details of just one person, you can add more information or more people (or both).

If you like, you can also notice details about buildings, cars, movies or series, foods that improve memory, etc. But focusing on people is the more potent. Being observant of others around you is a great social skill.


2. Number Brain Exercises
That Skyrocket Your Concentration


I can’t emphasize this enough: numeracy is a powerful skill. It’s something I work on myself as often as possible, both with and without memory techniques in play.

“Add 3 Minus 7” is a fun brain exercise you can try today. To get started, all you do is pick any 3-digit number. Then, add 3 to that digit 3 times. Then minus 7 from the new number 7 times.

Repeat the process at least 5 times and pick a new 3-digit number the next time. You can also start with a 4-digit number and use other numbers to play with. For example, you could start with 1278 and add 12, 12 times and minus 11, 11 times.

It’s up to you and the amount of numbers dictate the level of challenge. This brain exercise also strengthens your working memory because of the amount of detail you need to hold in mind to complete it.


3. Repeat What People Say In Your Mind


We all know in our hearts that no one is really listening when we speak. And that’s sad.

But here’s the good news: You don’t have to be another person who is just nodding your head like a puppet while actually thinking about something else.

You can train yourself to focus on what people are telling you and remember everything they say.

It all begins by creating presence in the moment in an easy way: Follow the words being spoken to you by repeating them in your mind.

For example, imagine that someone is saying the following to you:

“Tomorrow I want to go to a movie called Memory Maverick. It’s about a guy who cannot forget. He’s hired by a group known only as ‘The Agency’ to infiltrate a competitor. But once the hero learns the secrets, he doesn’t want to hand them over. But since he can’t forget, The Agency starts making his life miserable.”

All you would need to do to complete this brain exercise is repeat everything in your mind. You’ll automatically remember more by doing this.


Visualization Secrets Of A Memory Maverick


To remember even more, you can create pictures in your head.

For example, you might see an image of Mel Gibson as he looked in the movie Maverick trying to remember something.

Or you might get a picture in your mind of an agency building and scenes of evil men in suits torturing the hero. Any images you create will help you become a living, breathing mnemonics dictionary.

It can be a bit awkward to repeat back information like this to people to practice your concentration and memory powers, but you can write an email later from memory:

“Hey, did you manage to see Memory Maverick? That whole thing with infiltrating ‘The Agency’ for those secrets and not wanting to hand them over sure sounded cool. What did they wind up doing to make the hero’s life more miserable?”

For more brain exercises on remembering what people are saying, check out this interview with Jim Samuels on the Magnetic Memory Method Podcast. He has some great ideas and the benefits include:

  • Being more present.
  • Remembering more of what was said.
  • Showing people that you’re interested in them and their lives.
  • Easing conflicts when they arise because you remember the issues in greater detail.

Take this training seriously:

You’ll feel better about your connection to people because you’re really with them.


4. The Metronome-Clapping Exercise


Back in grad school, I had a great professor named Matthew Clark. For some reason, he told our class in Classical Literature about a great concentration exercise that I’ve practiced ever since.

It’s simple: You put on a metronome at a slow speed and then practice “covering the click.”

I don’t think this brain exercise helps memory in any direct way, but it’s excellent for improving concentration and presence. Both concentration and presence are skills we all need and the more we have, the more we can remember by default.

The better you get at this exercise, the longer the amount of time between clicks you should place. To accurately cover the metronome with a minute between clicks would be impressive!


5. Create A Memory Palace


The ultimate brain exercise on the planet is also the easiest. It involves nothing more than a simple drawing that follows some simple principles.

Why is creating a Memory Palace such a powerful exercise?

Take my free memory improvement course and find out for yourself:

Free Memory Palace Memory Improvement Course Magnetic Memory Method

First, creating a Memory Palace draws upon your spatial memory.

It’s also a great recovered memory and autobiographical memory exercise .

As far as brain exercises go, the Memory Palace training exercise works kind of in reverse.


Because you’re accessing cues that are usually blueprinted on your mind outside of your awareness.

Think about it:

You’ve rarely gone into a new home or store with the conscious intent of memorizing its features.

Yet, if you think back to the last home of a friend you visited, here’s a fact:

Most people can recall an insane amount of detail. Creating a Memory Palace lets you exercise that inborn ability.

You can even use it for memory and learning stunts like memorizing all the Prime Ministers of Canada.

Second, creating a Memory Palace is creating a tool that you can use for life. Once you have one and you’ve mastered using it, you can create dozens more.

And if you can do that, you can do great things with your memory, like how Matteo Ricci learned Chinese in record time. You can also remember names at events with ease and accomplish any goal in which memory plays a role.

And what goal doesn’t involve memory?

If you’d like to learn how to create a Memory Palace following the good rules of the Magnetic Memory Method, my FREE Memory Improvement Kit will take you through the entire process. It includes videos, worksheets and more to get you up to speed on this important talent.


Improve Your Mind With
Brain Exercises And Conquer Any Problem


At the end of the day, brain exercises are best when they help you solve problems. Forgetting important details, for example, harms us day in and day out. You now have a brain exercise that will assist you with that.

Not being able to focus on numbers leads us into making all kinds of mistakes. The simple game you’ve just learned is just one step towards improved numeracy skills and a better memory.

You’ve also learned to listen better, be more present and develop concentration for extended periods of time. In many ways, repeating the words of others in your mind or “covering the click” are forms of meditation, a skill known to improve memory.


You Now Have The Best Of The Best


Finally, you have the opportunity to create a Memory Palace. This simple, ancient invention will also improve your concentration while letting you remember anything. I’m not sure I believe in left brain exercises versus right brain exercises, but I’m confident that if such things exist, the Memory Palace covers them both.

Combined, all of these mind fitness activities will improve your life. They all serve as great brain exercises for kids too, so please pass them on to the young people in your life. On that note, they’re also great brain exercises for seniors, so don’t ignore that branch of your family and social circles either. People of all ages want to keep mentally fit!


Turn Your Dream Of Operating
A Fully Fit Mind Into Reality


When you regularly complete brain exercises, you’ll feel filled with pride. Few people have the gumption to take consistent action, after all.

Your commitment to what Tony Buzan calls “mental literacy” means you should celebrate. Consistently completing brain exercises should be rewarded, so be sure to factor that in.

You don’t have to think hard about giving yourself the perfect gift, though. The brain fitness that comes from regularly completing brain exercises is its own reward.

It’s not just about “brain” activities either. Asking questions about ambidextrousness and memory can help too. For example, I’ve practice juggling, writing with both hands and writing backwards to involve both my brain and body.

I also make sure that I don’t fall into the traps of smartphone addiction. Sure, you can get some great brain fitness reading from the Kindle app. But if you’re constantly interrupted by notifications, you’re probably damaging your focus and concentration more that helping improve it.

Oh, and here are a few more brain exercises for when you’re feeling depressed:

What are your thoughts about the principles discussed in this post?

Do you think these are activities you will bring into your life? Is there anything I’m missing?

Let me know in the discussion area below and I’ll gladly respond and update the post.

22 Responses to " 5 Brain Exercises That Ensure Memory Improvement "

  1. Rob says:

    AWESOME! Much better than mindless games. The way you train is the way you fight.

    • Thanks for this, Robert.

      That is absolutely true and an interesting comment to come in while I was watching a Kung Fu movie following my first Thai Chi class.

      Thanks again. I look forward to your next discussion post here on the site! 🙂

  2. Aaron Spurling says:

    I’m intrigued by these suggestions, but I have a question about exercise number 4 — i.e., the memory-clapping exercise. What do you mean by “covering the click”? Based on the description, I have no idea what this exercise really consists in, much less how to do it. Please explain.

    • Thanks for this question, Aaron.

      “Covering the click” basically means clapping at the exact same time in such a way that you don’t actually ear it. You’ve “covered” it with the accurate sound of your clapping hands. An odd brain exercise but one with an amazing feeling of accomplishment and will improve your concentration. It’s very meditative too.

      You can take to musical pieces as well. For example, if there’s a particular part of a song with a particular cymbal crash, you can work on listening up that point with the intention of covering it. For experienced musicians, this won’t be that difficult to do, but still a challenge. And very healthy to do. Just sitting and listening to music while deliberately observing it is an amazing brain exercise all around.

      Hope this helps and thanks for checking this post out. I look forward to your next comment here on the Magnetic Memory Method site! 🙂

      • Matthew Jane says:

        That was my question as well, all cleared up now. I can feel the potential benefits of the exercises immediately – though I just started reading your Memory Kit. 😉 I’m gonna try and apply these in daily life. Thanks, Dr. Metivier! That’s a lot of clear, constructive and quality information put out to the world !

        Do you know about any positive effects of active composing/playing music for cognitive improvement?



        • Glad you’ve feeling the effects in advance, Matthew!

          About music and cognitive improvement and development, as often happens, a lot of the science is interesting but not entirely conclusive. We need to be really clear, for example, what exactly we mean by “cognitive improvement.”

          That’s said, it’s inarguable that learning music is a great brain exercise that helps, especially if you throw music mnemonics into the mix. I’ll be talking about that more in future episodes of the podcast, so please stay tuned.

          In the meantime, thanks for taking the time to comment. I look forward to your next post here on the Magnetic Memory Method website! 🙂

  3. Alex says:

    Great (and fun!) exercises Anthony. I am doing the observation exercise for people and things, and I have another one I have been doing for a bit now.

    Whenever I see an automobile I try to memorize the license plate with a mixture of NATO phonetic alphabet (A = Alpha; B = Bravo, C = Charlie, etc.) and the Major Memory method. So if the plate is ABC 123 it becomes Alpha Bravo Charlie DyNaMo!). I also try to remember details like make, colour and model and state or province, etc. I try to do so as quickly as I can and then repeat as often as I can.

    Also, I like to memorize how much my meal at a café costs using the Major Method or codes of food items for the grocer. I can also associate the number to historical dates for example, 1789, French Revolution, French toast and eggs, coffee, bacon, etc.)

    It’s very fun and quite useful.

    Well Anthony, thanks again for your DyNaMo! tips.

    Kind regards

    • That’s a very cool game with combining NATO with the Major Method, Alex.

      Remembering the cost of menu items is also a great idea for getting in some exercise. For people into math exercises in countries where tax is added later, it’s a great opportunity to practice calculation as well.

      Thanks for adding these great additions to this post and episode of the Magnetic Memory Method Podcast – much appreciated! 🙂

    • Ken Johnson says:

      I do something similar with the license plate but I use the Person-Action-Object memory technique for the numbers. For the letter, I’ve assigned superhero or cartoon characters for the alphabet. I use superhero & cartoon characters since they are colorful and full of action.

      Good tip about the remembering the description of the car. I hadn’t thought about trying that. I think that belongs in the ‘remembering a conversation’ & ‘four detail’ exercise..

      • Great idea for the alphabet, Ken!

      • Alex says:

        Excellent idea for the characters Ken.

        In fact, some of the Renaissance scholars would use images of Saints (their idea of superheroes I guess) to help with remembering texts and alphabetic characters.

        For example, if the word to remember is “ET” the suggestion was to have Eusebius talking to Thomas (Aquinas I guess if it has to do with Theology; or the Apostle if it has to do with Gospel?) If the word is “TE” they put Thomas talking to Eusebius. I hope they made them animated and strange, or after a while it might have gotten a little stale. 😉

        Another idea I like to use is Image letters; for example, the letter B could be symbolized a slice of toasted Bread & Butter, etc. As long as in image is dynamic, strange or offputting it tends to be memorable.

        Kind regards

        • Having two characters per letter of the alphabet is a very useful idea, Alex. For a lot of my cards I have dual figures and find it helpful all the time because sometimes one option just isn’t enough.

          Plus, if you have two characters, it’s so much easier to see what they’re doing because it’s in motion. Fabulous thinking from the ancients yet again!

          Images for the letters is great too and that has so far been my go-to for memorizing spellings in a Latinate alphabet. I might follow up on Ken’s suggestion, however. I’ve never learned the NATO phonetic alphabet because it seemed too abstract.

          Another “system” I have to the alphabet is a simple story that combines the concrete with the abstract. I won’t repeat it here because it’s in the back of most of my books and one of the video courses. This story has also changed over the years, but one thing for certain about it is that I’ve seen rooms of people use the basics of it to memorize the entire alphabet backwards in just a few minutes flat.

          That’s not the most useful skill in the universe to have, mind you, but it does demonstrate how quickly and easily mnemonics can be used to revolutionize your mind. And when people get just a simple taste like that, they often become fans for life.

          Thanks to you both for the excellent conversation. I can’t wait for your next posts! 🙂

  4. Bjoern says:

    Hey Anthony,
    I am moving to a new flat and it seems that my practice with real Memory Palaces helped me a lot with arranging, buying, discussing and so on all the necessary tasks.

    I have quite clear picture of it and I only have seen it two times yet. This is a huge improvement for me!

    It would be nice to have simple web app for the add/minus game.

    bis dann

    • That’s so great to hear, Bjoern! It’s amazing how much better we can recall locations if we just pay attention to them in particular way. Did you sketch it out or just review it in your mind?

      Please say more about the web app you’re imagining. In principle, the point of brain exercises like these is to do them in your mind without external assistance. But perhaps if I know more about what you’re thinking, I can find someone to help create it. Look forward to hearing more! 🙂

  5. Frank in Phoenix says:

    I have been using your memory palace technique to memorize a few of the Psalms, now with that success I would like to try for all 150. What suggestions do you have to associate meta data (such as the number and a brief idea or picture like a shepard) with each one. And is there a method that you would suggest to be able to go different ones in any order other than sequential numbers?

    I really appreciate your postings.

    Now lets see if an old man can achieve his goal (well maybe not the really, really long one.)

    • Thanks so much for taking a moment to comment, Frank. It’s much appreciated! 🙂

      Adding data such as verse numbers is easy with the Major Method.

      I’m not sure what you mean by going through the Psalms in any order, however. Do you mean through any line in an individual Psalm in any order, or through any of the entire Psalms in any order?

      In the first case, if you’ve carefully memorized one line per station, you should be able to navigate them on a line by line basis without needing to start at the beginning. I can do this with most poetry I’ve memorized.

      For entire poems, if they’re carefully organized one poem per Memory Palaces, this should also be a breeze.

      I hope his helps and look forward to your next post here on the Magnetic Memory Method site. 🙂

  6. Ankit Kumar says:

    Can you send your contact?

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