Today I have been struck by the mystery of muscle memory. I have often been aware of muscle memory as I learn new exercises and work out routines. But, I have rarely taken the time to consider what is my muscle memory in my day-to-day….
Although the precise mechanism of muscle memory is unknown, what is theorized is that anyone learning a new activity, or practicing an old one has significant brain activity during this time. The walking child is gradually building neural pathways that will give the muscles a sense of muscle memory. In other words, even without thinking, the child is soon able to walk, and the muscles are completely accustomed to this process. The child doesn’t have to tell the body to walk; the body just knows how to do it, largely because neurons communicate with the muscles and say, “walk now.”
But in the last weeks as I have gotten used to driving a new car, I find my muscles are having a hard time remembering that I am no longer in my Saturn. I realize now how much I did in my vehicle without thinking (often an indicator of muscle memory) From the wipers to the cruise and from the windows to the lights. I find it quite interesting how difficult it is to overcome the habits of my muscles….there is a real miracle and mystery to muscle memory….
So, this gets me thinking about what other memories my muscles hold and what memories I want them to hold. I like the challenge of teaching myself some new memories. I like the idea of having this new season be memories of activity and health and well-being. It is fun to think, if my muscles could speak their memories, what words would they use to describe my care of them, my activity with them…
And so, as I wander through the wondering, at the idea of my body telling its story, I think I will end it here. Be curious about your muscle memory and what repetitive motions you complete without even thinking….be amazed at the miracle and the mystery…..