Hit the gym
Isaacson sees patients with a family history of Alzheimer’s and tailors the treatment plan to each individual. But he says that exercising regularly is probably the most important move you can make, followed by treating metabolic illnesses like hypertension or diabetes, and increasing the amount of high-quality sleep you get every night.
One surprising finding is that sarcopenia—the decline in muscle strength that often accompanies aging—can be a severe problem for mental clarity. “A number of papers demonstrate a very strong link between muscle health and brain health,” says Isaacson.
Isaacson recommends a mix of aerobic and anaerobic exercise, such as a combination of jogging and weight lifting (see this story for how to make lifting weights easier.) Tailor any exercise plan to your physical condition—don’t try running a long distance or lifting very heavy weights if you have not trained in a long time.