1. Get sweaty
If you needed one more reason to hit the gym, this is it: keeping your body fit is the single most effective way to keep your brain spry for the long-haul. “Whatever is good for your heart is good for your brain, too,” explains Ken Rockwood, MD, a professor of geriatric medicine and the Kathryn Allen Weldon, professor of Alzheimer’s research at Dalhousie University in Halifax. According to Dr. Rockwood, exercise “trumps by a large margin” every other strategy for brain fitness.
Jack Diamond, MD, former scientific director of the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada, agrees. “The beauty of regular exercise is that it not only reduces your chances of developing Alzheimer’s, but it can actually slow it down if you already have it,” he says. Dr. Rockwood recommends getting at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise, five days a week. “You need to be huffing and puffing,” he explains. “It’s important to get the heart rate up.”