The Functions of Muscles
This article covers the functions and different types of muscle in brief detail, outlining the job of muscles. This article was one of my recent college pieces. If you have any questions that you would like answered leave me a comment.
Functions of Muscles
The muscles play a major role in the body, from producing movement, maintaining posture, stabilizing joints, assisting in the circulation of blood in the body and generating heat. Muscles are used in every body movement performed such as heart beat, food being digested and all body movements.
Muscles produce movement by the action of muscles crossing joints between the bones of the skeleton, the muscles are connected to the joints/bones via tendons. For example when you extend your elbow the tendons in your elbow pull on the muscles to allow the movement to take place.
The muscles define how well our bones and body are stabilized. For example if we train our trapezius muscles then our neck will have better support because the muscle is stronger and can take more force and weight resulting in a stronger neck.
Muscles play a role in the stabilization of the joints. The muscles limit movement in a joint or provide balance the joint for a more stable joint. For example a lot of people will complain about lower back pain and a common cause of this pain is underdeveloped stabilizer muscles in this case the Multifidus muscle group.
Muscles also produce heat within the body when they contract. This heat causes blood vessels in the skin to dilate, which will increase the blood flow to the skin. The heat that the muscles produce is energy with only around 20-25% of this energy being efficient mechanical energy. The other 75-80% of the energy is lost as heat through the skin. For example when a athlete starts to sweat that is the body releasing the excess energy as heat and the body releasing sweat to cool the skin down.
Assistance in Blood Circulation
When muscles contract they produce chemicals that act on the arterioles dilating them, regulating the blood flow for the required exercise being carried out. For example a power lifter will have to intake a lot of oxygen to provide to the muscles to lift such a large amount of static weight, so the blood vessels in the muscles allow this to happen by dilating and becoming bigger due to heat when it is required.
Types of muscle
Cardiac muscle is a type of involuntary muscle found in the walls of the heart. Cardiac is one of three types of muscle found in the body the others are smooth and skeletal.
Voluntary muscle is the muscle that we feel and control and is mostly attached to the skeleton. Each muscle is made up of long muscle fibres each of which is bounded by a sarcolemma. The whole muscle is covered with strong connective tissue and connected to the bones via tendons.
Involuntary muscles are also controllable at will but they aren’t as free as voluntary muscles. Involuntary muscles are only controlled by the central nervous system and in some cases can also be control by hormones.
Smooth muscles are located in hollow internal walls of things like blood vessels, stomach and intestines. This muscle is usually involuntary because its not under our control. This muscle helps regulate the flow of blood in the arteries and helps food through the digestive system.
Skeletal muscle is attached to the skeleton, this muscle can be made to contract and relax under our control, these fibres have a great ability to split ATP and generate ATP. Skeletal muscle contracts from impulses from the brain. These muscles also fatigue rapidly. There is over 600 skeletal muscles found in the body and around 100 of these are involved when training and during movement, these muscles are made up from fibres and motor units. Skeletal muscle also has elastic properties and can return to its original position after being used and stretched.
Fast twitch fibres are thought to be able to split ATP quickly via myosin. These fibres are the ones used for fast and explosive movements such as a punch, and require fast energy transfer and a lot of energy to perform these moves. They are white in colour.
Slow twitch fibres generate ATP for re-synthesis by means of a long term system of anaerobic energy transfer. These fibres are the ones used for slower endurance movements such as long distance running. These fibres are also fatigue resistant. They are red in colour.
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