Physical activities or exercises are always more difficult to perform the first time than after even a long break. This feature is due to muscle memory.
Muscle memory is associated with the nervous system and changes in muscle fibers. It appears as a result of constant physical actions for a long time. Its main task is to promote recovery after a break, for example, related to a health condition.
To understand how muscle memory works, you can use a simple example – if a person has not driven a car for a long time, but previously often did it, sitting back behind the wheel, his muscles will remember how and with what intensity to press the pedals and how to change gears.
Muscles remember everything
For a long time, you went to your goal-the abs and biceps became prominent, the body became the way you wanted it to be. However, it is important not only to make muscle mass, but also to maintain it. Otherwise, the result of training will disappear over time.
According to research, 14 days after extreme exercise, a person loses about 12 percent of their muscle mass.
Often there is a situation when a person wants 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 begin to weaken significantly.
Scientific view on muscle memory
Scientists from Norway concluded that systematic physical activity promotes the formation of new nuclei in muscle cells, and the number of genes that regulate protein for the growth of muscle tissue increases. When there are a lot of nuclei, the muscles build up.
But the most important factor of the study is that the number of nuclei does not decrease after 14 days or 3 months. They go into the waiting phase. How long the maximum can last waiting, until the end is unknown, the study continues. However, there is an assumption that the new cores do not die off at all. When a person resumes physical activity, the cores “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 located 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 the same action is done many times, the 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 do not hesitate to walk, run, swim. Today, there is no clear answer to how many times you need to perform an action for the brain to remember it. Some scientists say that the action should be repeated 10 thousand hours, others-300-500 times.
Despite such differences in research results, experts agree that muscle memory exists. Even if a person was engaged in sports as a child, then in adulthood he will be able to quickly return to the familiar exercises once. However, it is important that the motor skill is correct. It will be difficult to retrain.
Experienced coaches know that it is better to teach an athlete from scratch than to retrain. They believe that the skill is formed in memory in about three weeks.
Why do you need to train your muscle memory?
Training such a memory reduces the risk of injury during exercise, and it also promotes rapid recovery, for example, after health problems. As practice shows, athletes recover faster after a stroke or heart attack compared to other people.
Returning to the sport after a break should be gradual. It is important to make sure that the brain does not replace the necessary muscle memory with false memories. This also happens. If there is no substitution, you can increase the load.
The importance and benefits of muscle memory are obvious. It helps not only in sports, but also while driving a car, riding a bicycle, when performing simple and complex actions.
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