Cognitive Expert Shares the Key to Maintaining a Sharp Memory as You Age

Our brains naturally change as we age, including mental pruning, which can significantly affect our cognitive abilities.

A cognitive health expert recently discussed the concept of mental pruning and its impact on memory loss. Here’s what you need to know.

The Role of Mental Pruning In Memory Loss

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“As we age, it starts to work against us. We tend not to take on new projects and new challenges. We don’t need these other parts of our brain that we don’t use all the time. The brain starts to prune the neurons… this is a fancy way of saying if you don’t use it, you lose it.”

According to the expert, mental pruning refers to the brain’s natural process of eliminating unnecessary neurons to optimize efficiency.

While this process is beneficial in our earlier years, it can work against us as we age.

The primary reason behind this shift is our tendency to settle into routines and familiar patterns, limiting exposure to new challenges and experiences.

The lack of novelty in our lives is interpreted by our brain as a signal that certain regions are not regularly utilized, leading to the pruning of corresponding neural connections.

Consequently, when we eventually engage in new endeavors or learn new skills, the process becomes notably more challenging due to the constant pruning of underused brain regions.

The essence of mental pruning is “If you don’t use it, you lose it.”

Neglecting to stimulate our brains in unfamiliar areas can result in memory loss and cognitive decline over time.

Counteracting Mental Pruning & Preserving Cognitive Function

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In preventing the adverse effects of mental pruning and maintaining a sharp memory as we age, valuable suggestions are provided:

1. Engage In Mentally Stimulating Activities

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Puzzles, reading (mainly fiction), and other mentally challenging tasks activate different brain regions and promote neural connections.

These activities counteract mental pruning and enhance cognitive abilities. They improve memory retention, information processing, and overall cognitive function.

Additionally, they contribute to mental well-being by reducing stress and anxiety while providing an enjoyable and beneficial pastime.

2. Learn a New Skill

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Engaging in activities such as learning a new language, trying dances, playing a musical instrument, or acquiring a new hobby provides numerous cognitive benefits.

These activities awaken dormant neural pathways and enhance cognitive flexibility. Exploring new languages challenges the brain’s linguistic centers and promotes adaptability.

Dance and playing musical instruments engage multiple brain areas, improving coordination, multitasking abilities, and emotional intelligence.

Acquiring new hobbies fosters creativity, problem-solving, and cognitive growth by challenging the brain to think differently and overcome obstacles.

3. Memorization Exercises

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Incorporating memorization exercises into daily routines is an effective way to resist memory loss.

We can enhance our memory recall abilities by challenging ourselves to memorize information such as grocery lists or recipes without referring to written instructions.

This practice stimulates and exercises the brain, improving cognitive function and problem-solving skills. By actively engaging in memorization exercises, we can maintain a sharp and agile mind, counterbalancing our reliance on external sources for information.

Comments from Viewers

Understanding Mental Pruning Key to Maintaining a Sharp Memory as You Age
Image Credit: TikTok @theknewmethod.

The comments from viewers of the video provide various perspectives on the topic of memory loss and mental stimulation.

One comment reflects the struggle with memory loss due to mental illness, but the individual expresses their determination to keep their brain stimulated.

They state,

“Ahhh, sadly, I struggle with memory loss due to mental illness. But I still try my best to keep my brain stimulated “

Another viewer acknowledges the importance of finger movement in creating new synapses and says,

“Thank you, I keep my digits moving. I read new synapses need to be created when you move your fingers.”

Another comment highlights the challenge of resuming learning after a period of inactivity, stating,

“Exactly! I spent 4 years at home and doing nothing, and when I start working again, it was so hard for me to learn anything!!”

Lastly, a viewer questions the effectiveness of relying on reminders, stating,

“So I’m defeating the purpose when I leave reminders everywhere so I do not have to remember!”

More from Viral Chatter

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Are you curious about the wisdom that comes with age? Do you wonder what life lessons you might learn from those who have walked the path before you?

We’ll delve into a thread where Redditors aged 50+ share their insights on life. We also incorporate findings from various psychological and health studies to provide a well-rounded perspective.

Here are ten key takeaways that could enrich your life and positively impact your outlook.

7 Uncomfortable Truths About Life That Foster Wisdom and Self-Discovery

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Life is an amazing adventure, filled with times of happiness, tough hurdles, and chances to learn about ourselves.

These experiences offer precious lessons, helping us see life’s complexities better and showing us how to develop and find wisdom.

These lessons guide us toward becoming better, more enlightened individuals on our journey through life.


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@theknewmethod Protect your brain from
#dementia and memory loss. Bottom line is use it or lose it. Older age does NOT mean you have to lose your memory.
♬ original sound – Dr. E PhD

Martha A. Lavallie
Martha A. Lavallie
Author & Editor | + posts

Martha is a journalist with close to a decade of experience in uncovering and reporting on the most compelling stories of our time. Passionate about staying ahead of the curve, she specializes in shedding light on trending topics and captivating global narratives. Her insightful articles have garnered acclaim, making her a trusted voice in today's dynamic media landscape.