Your Workout May Impact How Your Brain Communicates with Your Muscles

First Posted: Sep 18, 2015 04:48 PM EDT

What type of athletic training you receive may affect how your brain communicates with your muscles. Scientists have found that using endurance training versus strength training determines how your brain "talks" with the rest of your body.

In this latest study, the researchers measured muscle responses of five people who regularly ran long distances, five who regularly lifted weights and five sedentary individuals who regularly did neither.

The endurance trainers had consistently taken part in a structured running program for at least three prior years to the study, and ran an average of 61 miles a week and did not take part in resistance training. The resistance trainers, in contrast, had consistently taken part in a weight-training program for at least four years prior to the study. They took part in resistance training four to eight hours per week.

So what did they find? It turns out that the quadriceps muscle fibers of the endurance trainers were able to fire more rapidly.

"The communication between the brains and their muscles was slightly different than the resistance trainers and sedentary individuals," said Trent Herda, one of the researchers, in a news release. "This information also suggested that resistance trainers and those who are sedentary were more likely to fatigue sooner, among other things."

It's not immediately clear why the communication between the brain and muscle is different as the result of different types of exercise. However, the results do offer leads for new means of research into neuromechanical differences in muscle function, muscle performance, muscle stiffness and other areas.

The findings are published in the Journal of Sports Sciences and Muscle and Nerve.

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