Thursday, December 16, 2010
If they didn't match, you had to put them face-down again before memorizing what was on the card and where it was on the table. The images were all basic—lightening bugs (shown above), rabbits, hearts, owls and such. And I loved it. Little did I know, it was an educational game that worked my brain as much as it worked my ability to stay occupied and entertained. I can still remember what it felt like to spread out those cards across the table, and I can still remember what a lot of them looked like. That's the beautiful thing about the brain. It remembers—and our muscles do, too.
Muscle memory is the reason you can pick up right where you left off. That is, if you've been out of the gym for a bit. Sure, it might be harder at first. And that's because your muscles have weakened a bit over time, but you CAN remember EXACTLY how to perform whatever it is you've got lined up. Aren't I right?
So why is this important? It trashes the whole "well, it's been too long so why start now" excuse. It hasn't ever been too long, so get back out there! You might be rusty, and that's OK. Your body will bounce back into action soon enough. Heck, you might even surprise yourself—it could feel really, really good to get back into a fitness routine. Scratch that. It WILL feel really, really good to get back into a fitness routine.
As you do so, you'll reap the benefits of having more energy, burning more calories and generally just tightening and toning your overall physique. That's never a bad thing. And even if you haven't skipped a workout, muscle memory is still important. It keeps you moving from exercise to exercise which ultimately makes you more efficient at the gym. Elsewhere, too as it keep your muscles "on their toes" so to speak.
Make note, however, that the plateau is muscle memory's biggest enemy. Stay on top of your fitness routine to avoid running through your workouts on autopilot. Constant change produces muscle confusion. Contrary to what it sounds like, that's a very good thing. It essentially means you're continuously challenging them with new and exciting exercises (that they, of course, can learn).
Speaking of autopilot, I know the holidays are looming ahead of us and things are getting really super busy—do your best not to rush through your workouts at this time. Stay focused, work hard. Your body will need it the most over these next few weeks. (Especially with all of those Christmas cookies on the table.)
Question: Is there a time in your fit life where your muscles came through for you even though you didn't think they would "remember" how to?
REMINDER! Don't forget to enter my Fashletics giveaway! You just might win a hand-crafted running shoe necklace. (Contest ends at midnight EST on Friday, December 17, 2010).
Posted by TARA