Many people have heard of muscle memory. This theory states that people who have acquired bigger muscles will always be able to acquire them easier in the case that they were to lose them for being inactive. When it comes to growth, there has been a discovery that muscle memory happens on a DNA level. Studies show that when a person is done exercising and the muscle grows, the DNA is chemically tagged as a reminder for that growth. This is referred to as an epigenetic change. Basically, the DNA strand structurally is not changed, but the genes are told when to be active and inactive.
So, when talking about muscle memory it is only fair to ask the question; is there such a thing as cardio memory?
Now this would assume the same thing of course. A person who was in great cardiovascular shape would be able to easily acquire great stamina in the case they were to stop being so inactive for a certain amount of time.
So, if you were a marathon runner and ran 13 miles with ease and all of a sudden due to injury or health reasons had to stop for a year, cardio memory would assume that you would be able to work your way up quicker than a person who is just starting out in the running world.
Here is the deal, muscle memory has science behind it to back it up, cardio memory does not. Muscle memory works on a DNA level, cardio memory works on an anecdotal one.
Why cardio memory would and should hold up however as being real (even without science to back it up) is because the logic it holds and provides.
Go back to the marathon runners used as an example up above. The runner who was an avid and regular marathon runner who ended up being laid up for a year due to injury knows what to expect when he/she gets back into the game of running. The mental component of fitness and training is just as hard for many as the physical part. So, by that runner having an idea of the strenuous work that lies ahead does give him a “leg up” over the individual that has no clue what to expect. Once again, there is nothing for the cardiovascular system to pull from and use for “memory” except the memory of the individual themselves.
Is cardio memory a real thing? It is as real as the memory you have of doing it which in return will make it easier to get back into.