Tag Archives: neurobic

Backing up is good for your memory

In this modern, computerized society of ours, warnings and advice about backing up computers and tablets have become fairly common. I had to learn the value of backing up my photos and documents the hard way. It happened back in the 90s when personal computers were becoming more and more popular. I can still remember embracing the joy of writing articles, stories and photos on my desktop.

Oh, I had heard plenty of advice for users to be sure to back up everything. I also thought that was a good idea – unfortunately, I didn’t actually do it. Then one day, poof! my computer crashed and everything disappeared. Since I didn’t have bucket loads of money to spend on recovery, the result was, once my data was gone it was gone, and so were the memories I had stored.

Another reason to back up

Senia and Wayne backing up for better memories
Senia and Wayne backing up for better memories

It turns out that backing up is not only good for digital memories, but also for the ones we store in our brains. According to a recent study done at the University of Roehampton, walking backwards can enhance your memory when compared to standing still or walking forward.  

Backing up safely

One reason walking backwards is helpful is that it falls into the category of neurobic activities or exercises. They are, in a nutshell: Doing the ordinary things in new, surprising and unexpected ways. Break routines. For example, turn your calendar upside down, or, find a safe place to walk backward.

Speaking of safe places, my husband and I recently joined a YMCA which has a lovely, indoor pool. I love that I can do some backward walking without having to worry about falling over. I still have to always be aware of who is behind me though.

My Mama, who has since passed, was raised in the Great Lakes area and loved the water. Even well into mid-stage dementia, she enjoyed going to our local wellness center to ‘swim’. Though she was comfortable in the water, I always made her wear floating bands – just in case. I would hold her hands and walk backward while she walked forward. It turned out that I was doing both physical and neurobic excrcise at the same time.

Adding backwards walking to your routine is an idea worth considering. Besides giving your memory a boost, walking backwards can also help your knees, heart and provide a whole host of other benefits.

If you do decide that walking backwards is for you, always think about safety. Walk with a partner, who is facing forwards, set your treadmill on the reverse (and slowest) setting, or try walking backward in a pool, beach, or a hallway – whatever you do try to continuously be aware of what is behind you.

By the way, it’s still a good idea to back up those digital files.


Has your world been touched by dementia? My recent book, “FinishingWell: Finding Joy in the Journey”, is a collection of stories and tips about doing life with my Mama.  May it encourage and inspire you to find the joy on your own, unique journey.

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Paperback or Kindle edition
Paperback or Kindle edition