Walking, breathing and blinking have something in common
Do you know what movements such as walking, breathing or crossing your arms have in common? The answer lies in our muscular apparatus. The muscular apparatus works in conjunction with the skeletal system to allow movement and balance in our bodies. Thanks to it we can perform voluntary movements such as walking and running or involuntary movements such as breathing and blinking. This system is made up of muscles and tendons.
What are muscles?
Muscles are organs that generate movement by contracting and relaxing. Muscles are made up of muscle tissue. There are three types of muscle tissue:
Skeletal, striated or voluntary tissue: as its name indicates, they are those muscles attached to the skeleton. They pull the bones to generate movement. 90% of our muscles belong to this type. We find them on our face, neck, chest, abdomen, and extremities (arms and legs). If you look at this type of muscle through a microscope you will notice that they are striated, that is, they have horizontal stripes. These muscles contribute to the movements we make voluntarily.
Smooth or involuntary tissue: These are smooth-looking muscles that are automatically controlled by the nervous system (we do not control them consciously), hence the name “involuntary.” An example of them are the walls of the blood vessels, thanks to the smooth muscles the blood vessels become larger or smaller, controlling blood pressure. Another example is the walls of the stomach and intestines, through these muscular tissues we take energy from our food.
Cardiac tissue: corresponds to the muscles of the heart. When the heart contracts (gets smaller) it pushes blood through the circulatory system. Cardiac muscle is not voluntary. Humans can’t stop the heart from contracting
What are tendons for?
Tendons are elastic tissues similar to cords. These connect the muscles to the bones allowing the muscles to pull on the bones.
Get plenty of exercise and eat well!
When you exercise, your muscles grow and get stronger. Exercise also helps keep your muscles strong and flexible. If you don’t use your muscles, they can atrophy, shrink, and weaken. Likewise, foods rich in protein such as milk, eggs, meat and nuts contribute to making your muscles much healthier.
Did you know . . . ?
✔ Our body has about 650 muscles.
✔ The smallest muscle is in our ear and is called the stapedius. This muscle is smaller than a grain of rice and is attached to the smallest bone in the body, the stirrup.
✔ The largest muscle is known as the sartorius, which runs from the hip to the knee.