The future of injury recovery

Muscle memory plays an important role.

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A study published in Scientific Reports verified for the first time that periods of muscle growth are remembered by those muscles' genes.

“If an athlete’s muscle grows, and then they get injured and lose some mass, it may help their later recovery if we know the genes responsible for muscle memory,” says lead study author Adam Sharples, Ph.D., professor in cell and molecular muscle physiology at Keele University in the UK. And it doesn't take long for muscle memory to develop: The study showed that even a single bout of resistance exercise was recalled by certain genes 22 weeks later.

“With more research we can now try to alter the type, intensity, and duration of exercise rehabilitation to help keep the DNA primed to respond when the athlete is ready to train and compete again,” says Sharples. In the meantime, focus on foods that can help you heal faster and have faith that if you sprain your ankle a few weeks before a competition, your training won’t have been for nothing.