Having a great beach body is important to many people, and perhaps that is their motivation for spending hours working out every single day. Muscles are great! They make people look good and feel good. But most of all, they just really help people function. Period. With that being said, there a lot of other roles and functions of the skeletal muscles aside from giving people a confidence boost.
The Importance of Skeletal Muscles
The Skeletal muscle is the sole voluntary muscle tissue in the entirety of the human body. That means that it is controlled consciously. All physical activities that a person chooses to perform, such as walking, writing, speaking, or running, need the use of skeletal muscle. The role of the skeletal muscle is to contract in order for the parts of the body to move closer to the bone where the muscle is attached to. Most of the skeletal muscles are attached to two bones that are across a joint, and the muscle functions to bring those bones closer to each other, hence movement.
When smaller progenitor cells bring themselves together to form long and straight fibers, skeletal muscles are formed. The skeletal muscle is very strong, and it got its name from the fact that it is always attached to skeleton in at least one place. Skeletal muscles often work in groups in order to perform bodily movements. An “antagonist” is a muscle that produces any bodily movement, while the “antagonist” is the muscle that produces the opposite effect on the same bones.
The Functions of Skeletal Muscles
The skeletal muscle system has various functions. The skeletal muscles help support and move the body through contracting and relaxing. Along with that, they also help keep the body nourished and help keep regulate the body’s temperature.
- Support and Movement
It is through the skeletal muscle that the body is able to move. When a skeletal muscle contracts, it pulls on tendons. These tendons are attached to the bones. When a muscle contraction shortens the muscle, the bone and the body part is going to move. However, it is not always that a skeletal muscle contractions results in the movement of a body part. Skeletal muscle contraction also supports body posture and holds a position.
Along with giving support and movement to the body, the skeletal muscle system is also responsible for some homeostatic functions. Homeostasis is the process of maintaining a constant internal environment. One of the homeostatic functions is temperature regulation.
The skeletal muscles contract and would require energy to do so. Much of the energy that is used in contracting muscles is converted to heat, and heat is important in maintaining a constant body temperature. A big percentage of the human body is made up of skeletal muscles, and these muscles provide an effective source of heat that is needed in temperature regulation. Shivering in the cold is one of the ways that muscles help with homeostasis. During shivers, the muscles contract rapidly in order to generate heat.
How to Care for Skeletal Muscles
Keeping the body hydrated is important in maintaining good overall health. It regulates blood flow, and maintains kidney and digestive functions. Aside from these, hydration is also important for good muscle health. Water provides the electrolytes that are needed for muscle strength and muscle control. Water is also needed to build muscle. The recommended amount of water that an average person should drink is two liters, distributed throughout the day.
- Resistance Training
Muscle size increases because of resistance training. This helps build thicker protein filaments, which create more muscle cell fluid and more myofibrils, which store the protein filaments of the muscle. Resistance training also helps with skeletal muscle strength, as well as with cardiovascular health. It increases the thickness of the left ventricular wall and septum wall.
- Aerobic Exercise
The skeletal muscular system benefits from aerobic exercise in various ways. It helps with muscle strength, increases endurance, tones the muscles, and helps reduce body fat. Some aerobic exercises are jogging and swimming.
- Correct Posture
The efficiency of the skeletal muscles, as well as the amount of effort that it has to exert in order to do tasks is greatly affected by a person’s posture. When posture is poor, the muscles and bones find it hard to work together to create movement. Good sitting, standing and walking postures are equally important.
- Maintain Normal Weight
One of the stressors of muscles is extra weight. It forces the muscles to work harder and exert greater amounts of effort. Having a normal weight would lessen this stress and help keep the muscle from feeling sore or strained. The habits that can help a person maintain normal weight include keeping a diet that is low in saturated fat and cholesterol, as well as eating only the amount of calories that is in par with the amount of calories burned. Aerobic exercise can also help maintain normal weight. Strength training would also help regulate the weight by increasing muscle mass, as more muscle mass means faster metabolism.
- Take Supplements
Supplementation is important to make sure that the body gets the nourishment it needs, which extends to the health of the skeletal muscles. There are a lot of supplements that can be easily accessed. However, one herb that can be taken as a supplement, the Tongkat Ali, is particularly beneficial for maintaining the health of the skeletal muscles. This slender herb is native to Southeast Asian countries such as Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam. It is known scientifically as the Eurycoma Longifolia, and also with other names such as Longjack and Pasak Bumi. Tongkat Ali has been found to help increase muscle mass, and hence lose fat. The herb does so by increasing testosterone production. Testosterone can aid in improving the ratio of fat to lean muscles among males. It is also sometimes used as a natural alternative to steroids. A study has also found that Tongkat Ali increases muscle size and strength.
Our skeletal muscles are important, not only in maintaining a beach-worthy figure, but also in making sure that the body is able to move, support itself, and regulate its temperature. It is important not only to know, but also to apply caring measures that will enable the muscles to function efficiently.