Physical activity or exercise is always more difficult to perform the first time than after even a long break. This feature is due to muscle memory. She will be discussed in today’s article.
Muscle memory is associated with the nervous system and changes in muscle fibers. It appears as a result of constant physical activity over a long period of time. Its main task is to facilitate recovery after a break, for example, related to a health condition.
You can understand how muscle memory works using a simple example – if a person has not driven a car for a long time, but previously did it often, sitting back behind the wheel, his muscles will remember how and with what intensity to press the pedals and how to change gears.
Muscles all remember
For a long time you walked towards your goal – the abs and biceps became prominent, the body became the way you wanted to see it. However, muscle mass is important not only to build, but also to maintain it. Otherwise, the result of training will disappear over time.
Studies have shown that 14 days after an extreme workout, a person loses about 12 percent of their muscle mass.
Often there is a situation when a person wants beautiful muscles, but does not go to the gym, due to the fact that the effect is only from constant training. But you can’t go to the gym regularly all your life. Moreover, after a few weeks, the effect will already begin to weaken significantly.
We propose to consider this problem, taking into account the factor of muscle memory.
Scientists from Norway concluded that systematic physical activity promotes the formation of new nuclei in muscle cells, an increase in the number of genes that regulate protein for muscle tissue growth. When there are many nuclei, muscles grow.
But the most key factor in the study is that the number of nuclei does not decrease either after 14 days or after 3 months. They go into a waiting phase. How long the wait can last is not known until the end, the study continues. However, there is an assumption that new nuclei do not die off at all. When a person resumes physical activity, the nuclei “wake up” and the former form returns faster compared to people who have just started going to the gym.
The accelerated process of returning to good physical shape is due to the fact that the body does not need to form new nuclei, wasting time on this.
Where is muscle memory and what are its features?
There is no memory directly in the muscles. It is located in the brain, which is good at remembering information about frequently repeated physical activity. If one and the same action is done many times, a person begins to perform it automatically with minimal involvement of the brain. He has stored the information in his memory and will use it when appropriate.
This type of memory always works, thanks to it people walk, run, swim without hesitation. Today there is no clear answer how many times an action needs to be performed for the brain to remember it. Some scientists argue that the action must be repeated 10 thousand hours, others – 300 – 500 times.
Despite these differences in research results, experts agree that muscle memory exists. Even if a person played sports in childhood, then in adulthood he will be able to quickly return to the exercises that were once familiar. However, it is important that the motor skill is correct. It will be difficult to retrain.
Experienced trainers know that it is better to teach an athlete from scratch than to retrain. They believe that a skill is formed in memory in about three weeks.
Why do muscle memory need to be trained?
Training this memory reduces the risk of injury during exercise, and it also promotes quick recovery, such as from health problems. As practice shows, athletes recover faster from a stroke or heart attack compared to other people.
Do not overestimate the possibilities
Returning to sports after a break should be gradual. It is important to make sure that the brain has not substituted false memories for the desired muscle memory. This also happens. If there is no substitution, you can increase the load.
The importance and benefits of muscle memory are clear. It helps not only in sports, but also while driving a car, cycling, and performing simple and complex actions.