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Muscle Memory

September 15, 2010

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


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.

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.