Muscles Empower Your Body
Know your Body

Muscles Empower Your Body

Dr.Surya Rao Poodipeddi profile Authored by Dr.Surya Rao Poodipeddi on 2 Jan 2014 - 16:45.

While the human skeleton gives mobility to all the joints and protection to some of the important organs, the human muscles give shape to the body. Without muscles, a skeleton is incapable of any movement.

The muscles are meant to give proper shape to the human body and their principal action is to carry various movements over several joints which they accomplish through a process of contraction. They empower the body to attain a certain shape, enable movement and help in blood circulation.

Nature has provided two sets of muscles. When one set of muscles contract the opposite set relaxes to enable the contracting muscles to bend the particular part forwards (flexion). When once the action is complete, the other set contracts to bring the part to original position (extension) and the opposite set relax. In other words without the synergistic action by both sets of muscles and their full co-operation one can never accomplish the desired movements.

The muscles are attached to the bones by means of strong bands of structure called tendons. They exert force by converting chemical energy into tension and contraction.  The movements of the muscles make us capable of a variety of actions by their simple contraction. It is essential to understand that a muscle can only pull but never push. It is the body weight and force which enables us to push and the muscles concerned to achieve that action, do their job through contraction and relaxation as required.

Muscles are made up of millions of tiny protein filaments which work together to produce motion in the body. There are more than 600 muscles in the human body and each one of them is served by nerves that link the muscles to the brain and spinal cord. They all have rich blood supply and venous drainage.

Our bodily needs demand that our muscles perform varieties of chores. To accomplish such manifold actions we are equipped with three different types of muscles.  

  1. Cardiac Muscles: Found only in the heart meant to power the action that pumps blood throughout the body. 
  2. Smooth Muscles: Meant for internal organs like movements of intestines, uterus, bladder etc. Both the cardiac muscles and the smooth muscles are grouped under one heading known as involuntary muscles, for the simple reason that we have no control over this group of muscles.
  3. Voluntary Muscles: These carry our voluntary movements. Simply because they are under our control try to overwork some muscles and you end up with aches compelling you to rest those muscles till the ache disappears. Also called the skeletal muscles, they are the body’s most abundant tissue comprising about 23% of a woman’s body weight and about 40% of man’s body weight.

Each muscle whether voluntary or involuntary keeps on serving the bodily needs till either it can no more do so like cardiac muscle as in cardiac arrest when it is overused.

Take for example the uterus in a female. Otherwise called the womb, this organ is a mass of muscles whose primary action is parturition (expulsion of a fetus during labor). The more the use of this organ like in case of multiple pregnancies the more the muscles become lax and develop a condition called inertia. (Inability to contract)

However, believe it or not, there is recorded evidence in the Guiness Book of World records that a Russian peasant woman who lived in the 18th Century holds the record for the most children born to one mother. She had sixty-nine children within forty years. She produced sixteen pairs of twins, seven sets of triplets, and four sets of quadruplets! 

Muscle tears, muscle pull, muscular paralysis, muscle ruptures, Hypertrophy of muscles, Muscular dystrophies, and muscular cramps are some of the common conditions affecting the muscles. The names imply that most of the conditions are self-explanatory. Injuries to muscles like cuts are usually repaired through timely stitches unless the nerves and vessels are also involved.

However, mention must be made with some examples of certain conditions which include: Hypertrophy which primarily affects the cardiac musculature in a condition called cardiomyopathy. Commonest example of muscular paralysis is “Facial Palsy” and Hemiplagia (paralysis of half the side of the body).Muscular dystrophies are usually hereditary wherein we come across atrophy of a group of muscles (weakening and wasting of muscles) for which there is no treatment as of now.

It is important to do regular time bound exercises every day to keep your muscles fit and in good shape. 

*Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. The content is for educational purposes only. Please contact your doctor for any health care issues.