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Endurance training leaves no memory in muscles

Genetic study finds no persistent changes in exercisers

2:21pm, September 22, 2016
muscular legs of a bicyclist

SHORT-TIMERS  Endurance exercises like cycling, running and swimming change muscles for the better, but the body may not remember those changes in the long run. 

Use it or lose it, triathletes.

Muscles don’t have long-term memory for exercises like running, biking and swimming, a new study suggests. The old adage that once you’ve been in shape, it’s easier to get fit again could be a myth, at least for endurance athletes, researchers in Sweden report September 22 in PLOS Genetics.

“We really challenged the statement that your muscles can remember previous training,” says Maléne Lindholm of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. But even if muscles forget endurance exercise, the researchers say, other parts of the body may remember, and that could make retraining easier for people who’ve been in shape before.  

Endurance training is amazingly good for the body. Weak muscle contractions, sustained over a long period of time — as in during a bike ride — change proteins, mainly ones involved in metabolism.

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