... but does the effect last?
It is well established that exercise bolsters the structure and function of the brain. Multiple animal and human studies have shown that a few months of moderate exercise can create new neurons, lift mood and hone memory and thinking.
But few studies have gone on to examine what happens next. Are these desirable brain changes permanent? Or, if someone begins exercising but then stops, does the brain revert to its former state, much like unused muscles slacken?
The question may be particularly relevant at this time of year, when so many people start new exercise programs. Helpfully, two recent animal studies that were presented at the 2012 annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in New Orleans have taken on the issue and may have relevance for people, though the results are disquieting.
From a Gretchen Reynolds piece appearing in the NY Times. It is still far too early to tell and these are animal studies, but the studies so far indicate that you have to keep fit. Of course there are other positive benefits from that, so it may be an all around winner and good use of some of your time.