Prior training helps accelerate muscle growth even after long idleness of body: Study

Daily Exercise for beginners
Daily Exercise for beginners

A new study discovered that when mice are retrained through exercise, their skeletal muscles appear to “remember” earlier training, facilitating muscle growth and adaptation.

According to a survey by the American Psychological Association, 42% of American people have gained unintentional weight, on average roughly 29 pounds, since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

For those still unable to resume their exercise programme, there is some good news: new research from the University of Arkansas reveals that prior muscle training can enhance muscle growth and reaction even after prolonged inactivity. Recovering what has been lost is probably easier than most people believe.

Kevin Murach, an assistant professor at the Department of Health, Human Performance, and Recreation, did recent study to substantiate this. Murach and colleagues discovered that previously trained muscles in mice responded more sensitively and grew more rapidly than previously untrained muscles in “Nucleus Type-Specific DNA Methylomics Reveals Epigenetic ‘Memory’ of Prior Adaptation in Skeletal Muscle,” published in the American Physiological Society’s flagship journal Function.

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Further investigation demonstrated that the muscles, and more precisely the DNA of the muscle cells, retained a form of biological memory of previous exercise adaption. To put it another way, “Muscular nuclei retain a methylation epi-memory of previous training, which may enhance muscle adaptation to retraining.”

Murach and his colleagues examined the skeletal muscles of mice that had been trained on a gradually weighted wheel for eight weeks and then removed from the wheel for 12 weeks, or “detrained.”

Following that, a four-week period of retraining was required. These mice were then compared to a control group that had received only four weeks of training.

The results suggested that the previously trained cohort saw more muscle development increases upon retraining than the control group, and that specific epigenetic modifications in DNA methylation persisted following the initial training.

Murach believes that these findings support an epigenetic model of muscle memory.

To many people, the word “muscle memory” conjures up an image of a motor skill, such as throwing a Frisbee or riding a bike, that is acquired via practise and perfected to the point where it can be performed without conscious thought or effort. However, what if muscle memory extends outside the neurological system? Murach is interested in determining whether previous training information may be maintained at the cellular level, namely in the DNA of a muscle cell. This is what he means when he uses the term “epigenetic explanation.”

Murach stated, “Epigenetics is the concept of altering a cell’s response to stimuli (i.e., modifying gene expression) without altering the genetic code. Cells can respond to stimuli based on DNA without altering the DNA itself, only the way it is accessed. Without altering the genetic code, it is possible to alter the biological response.”

In brief, his study indicates that when it comes to exercise, a type of rebound response may be preserved in muscle cells at the epigenetic level.

According to anecdotal evidence, the majority of gym rats are aware that muscle acquired earlier in life is easier to re-acquire than new muscle. In other words, someone who gained ten pounds of muscle in college and then lost it when their children were born probably finds it much simpler to regain that muscle than someone who never had it in the first place. However, anecdotes are not science, and no single study is conclusive. Murach is curious about what is occurring at the molecular level.

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“Understanding the cues that promote muscle adaptability, particularly those at the epigenetic level, has implications for healthy gymgoers and athletes, as well as populations prone to muscle dysfunction, such as those forced into inactivity or the elderly,” Murach explained.

Murach collaborated with Yuan Wen, Cory M. Dungan, C. Brooks Mobley, and Taylor Valentino of the University of Kentucky, as well as Ferdinand Von Walden of Sweden’s Karolinksa Institutet. This is Murach’s first publication as a faculty member at the University of Arkansas, where he started the Molecular Muscle Mass Regulation Laboratory in June.

While there is still much to understand about what happens to muscles at the molecular level, Murach believes it is acceptable to infer that “it is preferable to have worked out and lost muscle than to have done nothing.”

Therefore, if your exercise programme has been affected as a result of COVID-19, do not despair. Your cells may be healthier than you think.


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