The Muscular System How it Works

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The Muscular System: What does it do for us?

Muscles are the only tissue in our body that have the ability to contract; we would not be able to move if muscles didn't do that. Skeletal muscles are attached to the bones while other muscles — such as the muscles in our face — are attached to the skin.

Because muscles move our bones, an obvious secondary function of muscles is to help us maintain posture and body position.

How many muscles we have is still up for discussion. There are anywhere between 650 and 840 skeletal muscles, depending on your source.

How many kinds of muscle are there?

There are three types of muscle tissue:

Muscles are complex in their structure and, as you can see, quite different from one type to another.

What are some disorders of the muscle system?

Because of its complexity, it's not surprising that the muscular system can have many things go wrong with it. Some conditions are genetic; others are acquired. Some are complex, while others are relatively simple. There are treatments for some; others are progressive.

Here's a list of some of the diseases or disorders of the muscular system (listed in alphabetical order):

Some injuries of the muscular system include:

How can we take care of our muscular system?

Muscles turn energy into motion — similar to a car engine. It would be impossible for you to do anything without your muscles. Unfortunately, we have a tendency to take them for granted and only really notice them when they don't work.

Research abounds with the evidence that working our muscles will keep them healthier and give us greater quality of life. At the same time, they can be injured easily, so we must be cautious about how we work our muscles. If you have never done weight training, it is advisable to seek professional advice (a personal trainer or a fitness class with a qualified fitness instructor). For a bit more detail on the benefits of weight training, see Why Lift Weights?.

See also (articles about individual muscles, what they do, how they work, and exercises for them):

I am a BCRPA-certified fitness instructor in Vancouver, BC. I teach four classes at the West End Community Centre in Vancouver, BC, mostly designed for the older adult. The Inevitable Disclaimer: Everything published here expresses only my opinion, based on my training and research. What you do with the information is entirely your own responsibility. I am not liable for any injury you suffer that seems to be related to anything you read here. Always consult your doctor before beginning an exercise program. For other articles, return to the table of contents.

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