<P class=byline>Not designed for BBers but this is an interesting article of the role of our nervous system in training. WW7
<P class=byline>Get your engrams in shape
<P class=byline>By Dr. Phil Maffetone
Improving fitness involves training more than the anaerobic and aerobic systems. In addition, you must also properly program your nervous system, which influences all physiological activity.
<P class=text>Picture a large house with hundreds of meters of wires, some very thin, some large cables, all connecting together and controlled from a central switch box. The nervous system runs through your body in a similar fashion. Except it goes to every square millimeter of the body, and sends information both ways. The main processing center of the nervous system is the brain and spinal cord housed within your spine.
<P class=text>A good illustration of the nervous system's interrelationships throughout the body is its connection to the muscles - referred to as the neuromuscular junction. Each aerobic muscle fiber has a separate nerve connecting to it. The same is true with the anaerobic fibers. And that type of nerve fiber has a specific action much like the muscle fiber itself. For example, the nerve fiber attaching to the slow-twitch aerobic fiber is slower acting compared to the nerve fiber which joins the fast-twitch anaerobic muscle fiber, which is faster-acting.
<P class=text>Training the slower nerves to stimulate their specific aerobic fibers - which work at submaximal efforts - is one key to building successful endurance. But this does not mean you will always be "slow" - the biggest fear of all athletes. In time, and with successful training, the slow-twitch aerobic muscles improve function and increase their speed, but still function as a slow-twitch fiber.
<P class=text>If you don't train these specific parts of the nervous system, along with their connections with the aerobic muscles, and as many as possible, you'll never "learn" to build high-quality aerobic activity. In training circles this is called building an aerobic base. In neurological terms, it is referred to as an "engram." Engrams are stored memories in the brain.
<P class=text>One unique ability of the nervous system is its capacity to learn. We've all experienced it. Learning how to type, play the piano or perform any skill you learn by practice is the result of implanting memory into the nervous system. Training for endurance is no different. Each workout is a small part of a memory stored in the brain.
<SPAN class=text>However, if you train indiscriminately, that also is stored as a permanent record in your nervous system. If you overtrain, that too is registered. The nervous system remembers everything it experiences, so be careful what you put into it. Sometimes a long process of "re-training" is necessary, especially in those who have abused their bodies through improper training.</SPAN>