Remembering muscle memory


Throughput my life I have at various times and to various levels been a cyclist, a runner and a swimmer but never at the same time.  A recent successful triathlon event in my town got me all competitive and thinking ‘I could do that’.

So after being officially ‘in training’ for my first mini triathlon for the past week I am finding it significantly easier to do, particularly the running.

The last time I ran regularly was more than 18-months ago.  But today I marvelled as my body unravelled from a somewhat crumpled state of domesticity and just got into the rhythm of efficient movement.  I ran and it felt good.  My breath was in sync with body and my legs were strong.

Once in the rhythm it was easier, it was like my muscles remembered that they knew what all this exercise malarkey was about and just got to it.  Then I remembered that I had encoded that memory for my muscles by forcing the repetition of exercise upon them!

“When training new motor skills and movement combinations are being used and repeated.  Muscle memory related to strength training probably involves elements of both motor learning, and long-lasting changes in the muscle tissue (Wikipedia).

To be specific, training causes neuron’s get fired up and spark links between the nervous system and the muscles themselves which then makes the muscles more efficient.

What’s important to note here is that even if I stop my training my muscle efficiency is not lost straight away.  It is the neuron’s ability to excite the muscle that declines in line with the muscle’s decreased strength.  So when I started exercising again my little neuron’s ‘woke’ the muscle up and they get busy making me into a competitive machine!  So after a long hiatus I am looking forward to the challenge ahead and am enjoying my training!

All I need now is to enter a tri event that includes time management, multi-tasking and teaching to share!

If you haven’t exercised for a while remember that your muscles know what to do.  You have a little head start and that should be encouraging.  As for getting your butt off the couch, that is entirely up to you!

What’s gotten your neurons excited lately?


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