New study shows “Use it or lose it” may be a busted myth

Russias President Vladimir Putin works out at a gym at the Bocharov Ruchei state residence in Sochi on August 30, 2015. AFP PHOTO / RIA NOVOSTI / MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV / AFP PHOTO / RIA NOVOSTI / MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV (Photo credit should read MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/AFP/Getty Images)

The results of a complicated new study may prove that human muscle memory is better than we previously thought.

According to eurekalert.org

“The old adage “use it or lose it” tells us: if you stop using your muscles, they’ll shrink. Until recently, scientists thought this meant that nuclei – the cell control centers that build and maintain muscle fibers – are also lost to sloth.”

A new review published in Frontiers in Physiology, says modern techniques now allow us to see that nuclei gained during training persist even when muscle cells shrink due to age, lack of use and activity, or simply from breaking down.

The findings suggest that we can retain the strength and muscle potential we developed as teens, athletes or otherwise.

These residual ‘myonuclei’ allow a person to get back the strength and growth they once had if they start training and exercising again.

A muscle can gain nuclei, but never loses them

“Two independent studies – one in rodents and the other in insects – have demonstrated that nuclei are not lost from atrophying muscle fibers, and even remain after muscle death has been initiated.”

According to Lawrence M. Schwartz, the originator of the study:

“Muscles get damaged during extreme exercise, and often have to weather changes in food availability and other environmental factors that lead to atrophy. They wouldn’t last very long giving up their nuclei in response to every one of these insults.”

Meaning that if the human body didn’t bank these cells we would all waste away inevitably.

“Use it or lose it – until you use it again”

So hope is not lost, and its way easier to get back into shape than it is to get in shape in the first place.

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