If you had a tank full of life-sustaining water, it would be the sole source of potable water for kilometers around. The tank is plenty and has been designed to serve you for the rest of your life. That should give you some peace of mind, don’t you think? However, what if the tank had a leak? Water was flowing out, spilling, and escaping beyond your grip, drip by drip, pint by pint, gallon by gallon. Do you have any ideas on how to fix it? Fixing it would be a logical next step. In some cases, we may even have been able to protect this vital resource with a more robust vessel.

This can be compared to how your brain works. Your brain could have been infected with a parasite, for example. Our memories, experiences, and basic talents gradually fade away from our minds and bodies, leaving us powerless and hopeless. People with Alzheimer’s disease feel like their lives are passing them by and being snatched away from them at the same time. Is it possible to fix it?

There have been rumors of prescription medications and other treatments on the horizon, but for now, it appears like there is little we can do to help individuals who are afflicted with this sickness. Exercise is still the best approach to reduce the symptoms and progression of Alzheimer’s disease, according to specialists. There are numerous health and fitness benefits, not the least of which is a reduction in the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

After a study conducted on mice bred to develop the specific substance known to cause Alzheimer’s disease, researchers at the University of Chicago reported that physically active mice not only had less amyloid plaque, but they also created significantly more Alzheimer’s disease-preventing enzymes. This information was published by the Mayo Clinic in 2008. People with more amyloid plaque deposits in their brains are more likely than individuals with fewer to experience memory loss.

At Washington University in St. Louis, researchers investigated the APOE gene—a gene that regulates cholesterol metabolism—to find out more about its role. Alzheimer’s disease is 15 times more likely to occur in people who have a certain form of the gene, APOE e4, than those who do not. Those with the APOE e4 gene showed greater amyloid plaques than those without the variant in 201 persons studied. Furthermore, those who did not prioritize their health and exercise appeared to have a steady buildup of the amyloid plaque linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

People who carried the gene but didn’t exercise for 30 minutes five times a week were healthier than those who didn’t. The plaque accumulation of these individuals was equivalent to that of those who did not carry the APOE gene variant.

Research conducted a few years ago by Dr. Ronald Peterson, Director of the Mayo Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, found that if you engage in moderate physical activity on an ongoing basis, it is “perhaps the best way we have of avoiding Alzheimer’s disease today,” he said.