Why is Your Workout Becoming so Easy?

I'm sure all of us have been in the position where after weeks of hopping on the elliptical or bike, it seems to be easier and easier to go for 45 mins without even trying!   Do you know why that is?  It could be partly that you are fitter, yes.  It could be that you have mastered the art of peddling, or gliding, yes.  Most likely what is happening is the muscles you use for the activity are developing a great memory. 

Muscle memory, also known as motor learning, is a form of procedural memory that involves consolidating a specific motor task into memory through repetition. When a movement is repeated over time, a long-term muscle memory is created for that task; eventually allowing it to be performed without conscious effort. This process decreases the need for attention and creates maximum efficiency within the motor and memory systems. Examples of muscle memory are found in many everyday activities that become automatic and improve with practice, such as riding a bicycle or typing on a keyboard.

What does it mean?  Well, when you repeat any activity (like when you are learning to ride a bike, or jumping rope, or running) your muscles that are involved in performing the task learn over time, to perform the activity with the least amount of energy usage.  It is very difficult to run for 10 minutes if you haven't run in a year, but after a week, two weeks, a month of running it becomes easier to do and easier to go longer.  Why do you think you always hear "You need to switch up your routine."?  Simply put, it is to confuse your muscles and make them work harder performing new tasks. 

Here is another link you may find useful.

http://www.evolutionhealth.com/flextasy/exercise.htm

  Repetitive exercise (which occurs when you do the same exercise over and over) can be detrimental as well and here is why.  You may love the bike, elliptical, running, the chest press machine, etc..  What happens is your body uses a certain set of muscles and ONLY those muscles, putting all the work on those muscles alone.  Over time, you can develop tightness in certain areas and weakness in others due to the fact that some muscles are always used and others aren't used enough.  It can lead to distortions in posture, lack of flexibility, and eventually can lead to strains and pulled muscles. 

It is very important to remember, there are about 700 muscles in the body (depending on who you ask) and each has a function,  If you always use the same 50 or 100 muscles, what happens to the others?  They atrophy, become weak, and are unable to take the stress put upon them when you actually need them to kick in.  In the very least, change up your routine to keep from getting bored, keep challenging yourself, and try new things.  Just be sure to be safe doing it smiley

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