You forget what you wrote on your grocery list this morning, and you forgot to take the list with you to the store.
You remember the words to that song from your senior year of high school when you skipped school to sunbathe, but you can’t remember who sang it.
You remembered to grab your phone off the nightstand before checking out of the hotel but, ugh, you left your charger there AGAIN.
Did you ever wonder why it is that you never forgot how to ride a bike or surf or chaturanga or toss a frisbee?
Years may elapse between hopping on your two wheels but you can still pedal your heart out without thinking.
A decade may have passed since you last hit the slopes, but you still can bypass the bunny hill like it ain’t no thang.
Lucky for us our brains hold their relationships with our muscles with special care. It’s like our brains put our muscles on these beautiful white pedestals, bow to them with awe, and roll out the red carpet for them anytime they make an appearance.
This is called muscle memory.
It’s nature’s way of letting us take a break from skiing, skating and ballet classes, but allowing us to pick it back up with ease years later. And it’s way easier than learning a new sport because our muscles will eagerly remember what they were trained.
I’ll spare you the science and theories and fancy words that explain why muscle memory happens. There are plenty of other blogs out there explaining that.
I will tell you that it’s never too late to pick up an old exercise habit, and that’s my goal here: to inspire you to move like you used to. Because you can.
Sure, you’re gonna be sore for a bit, but think of it as your way of waking your muscles up after a long hibernation and revving your metabolism for some turbo fat burning.
It’s one day closer to having those shoulders you once loved on your body or those abs that are screaming to make an appearance after you devoted your belly to babies.
It’s a reason to appreciate your legs again – the ones that got you to all those finish lines in high school or across the stage in pink slippers in middle school.
It’s thinking of your body differently than you have in awhile and realizing it’s capable of so much more than you’ve been challenging it recently. It’s not feeling like you’ll never be what you once were, but rather feeling like the best of you is yet to come, and the past was just a warmup.
Your muscles remember their role in making you an awesome you. It’s time for your brain to remember how awesome you are, especially if you’ve been struggling with body image or self esteem issues since your heydays of trophies and medals and award ceremonies.
I hope I’ve inspired you to sign up for that dance class or book that ski trip or enter that 5k. That first step is the most important part. The second is using muscle memory to your advantage to get your body movin’ and groovin’ again.
3 Tips to Jog Your Muscle Memory
Practice makes perfect.
The more you regularly do an activity, the stronger the brain-muscle connection. Even if you are not able to lift weights, ski, swim or whatever your activity of choice is, go through the movement and the motions in your home to give your muscles a moment to practice and rehearse moving in that way.
Guided imagery works.
Use guided imagery to imagine yourself successfully sinking baskets, doing your time on the treadmill in graceful form or doing a perfect pirouette. Focus, in your head, on your form and picture your body being successful with perfect execution of the movement. This will translate into your performance next time.
Cross training is key.
You don’t need to go to the gym to do some squats to support your skiing posture. You can practice jumping rope to support getting yourself off the ground with a rebound or jump shot. Even if you can’t dive in the pool to practice your strokes, you can do some dips, rows or butterfly presses to support your training.
Remember! Practice good form because your muscles will remember bad form just as readily as good form. Try these tips. They’re as easy as riding a bike.
The Nutritious Life Editors are a team of healthy lifestyle enthusiasts who not only subscribe to — and live! — the 8 Pillars of a Nutritious Life, but also have access to some of the savviest thought leaders in the health and wellness space — including our founder and resident dietitian, Keri Glassman. From the hottest trends in wellness to the latest medical science, we stay on top of it all in order to deliver the info YOU need to live your most nutritious life.
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