Wondering what you forgot today? Was it an important meeting? Was it your house keys as you rushed out the door? Or maybe you were looking for your sunglasses and didn't remember that yes, indeed, they were on top of your head the whole time?

Sometimes when we lose our memory, it also feels like we lose our minds. For those of us who are prone to forgetting even the simplest of things, there is still hope. Embarrassing and troubling memory lapses, however frequent, don't have to plague your life for eternity. Strengthen your powers of recall with this one trick:

Be sure to flex.

No, I don't mean to walk to the nearest mirror and strike an Arnold Schwarzenegger-inspired pose for a few seconds. But I do mean there are things related to all definitions of the word flex that will powerfully sharpen your memory skills.

Flex your muscles

Incorporate exercise into your daily routine and you will see a marked improvement in your ability to remember things. The activity of exercising actually helps your nerve cells release proteins known as neurotrophic factors into your body. These neurotrophic factors can then trigger the chemicals necessary to strengthen cognitive functions, such as learning.

Twenty to 30 minutes of cardiovascular activity three times a week will get blood flowing to your brain enlarging the size of the most vital part of your brain associated with memory, the hippocampus. Any exercise will require you to put your muscles to work--turns out the phrase jog your memory can be taken quite literally.

Flex your brain

Call it mental acrobatics--keep your brain strong by voluntarily and actively allowing yourself to be stumped. Brianne Bettcher, neuropsychology fellow at the University of California, San Francisco, Memory and Aging Center, suggests that those who want a better memory stay engaged in the world around them, as doing so reinforces the connections between neurons in the brain. Don't take the easy mental route. Pick up a new language, watch a film that will encourage you to think critically, or buy the the local newspaper and take a shot at the daily crossword puzzle.

The path to a better memory is here. If you want to become a mental powerhouse, don't forget to flex.

Published on: Sep 14, 2017
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.