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Muscle Memory

September 15, 2010

Exercising when you’re young may help your muscles bounce back later in life.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):
Re-inflating muscles…I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

You can build muscle mass faster if you’ve worked out before – even a long time ago. Now, scientists at the University of Oslo in Norway may have found out why. Physiologist Kristian Gundersen says exercising creates extra protein-producing nuclei in our muscle fibers. His team found that bulked-up mouse muscles retained these extra nuclei, long after the exercise stopped and the muscles withered. He says keeping the nuclei may prime your muscles for re-training.

KRISTIAN GUNDERSEN (University of Oslo):
Because you then wouldn’t have to produce new nuclei, you could just get the high number of nuclei you already had from before, to produce more protein.

HIRSHON:
It’s not known how long the effect would last in people. But Gundersen says it’s harder to make new nuclei as we age – so exercising when you’re young could be a wise investment. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.