While your skeletal structure is completely amazing, it wouldn’t really be able to do very much without your muscles to move it around. You have over 700 muscles in your body and they comprise about half of your body weight (for a typical human frame).

musclesYour muscles are made up of specialized tissue designed to expand and contract. In fact, your muscles are really the only tissue in your body that has the specialized function. That’s why there are different types of muscles and muscle tissue. You have visceral muscle, cardiac muscle, and skeletal muscle; each has its own specialized function.

Visceral muscle is the type of muscle found inside your stomach, intestines, and blood vessels. This is the type of muscle that accounts for peristalsis and other small movements that keep things like blood, lymph, food, water, flowing smoothly through your body.

Skeletal muscle is the type of muscle that most people think about when the word “muscle” is mentioned. This is the stuff that you can see connecting and moving your skeletal frame. Biceps, triceps, deltoids, they are all types of skeletal muscles. Those six pack abs that the media keeps trying to convince you are the end all be all of your existence? They are skeletal muscles too and they serve an important function of movement in your body. In fact, all of your skeletal muscles serve an important function; every physical action that you take from moving your eyes to read this post, to reaching for the keyboard or phone, to throwing a basketball or walking across a room, is dependent on skeletal muscle and the coordination of action.

muscle cardiacLast, but not least, you have cardiac muscle. Cardiac muscle is found only in the heart and is responsible for pumping the blood around your body. Cardiac muscle is what is referred to as an involuntary muscle, meaning you can’t necessarily control it actively with your mind. Hormones, neurotransmitters, and other chemical messengers in your body can influence the beating of your heart and adjust the strength and variability of the beat.

Muscles work together in coordinated groups called agonists and antagonists. Basically this means one pulls while the other pushes and this is how movement is created. For example, when your bicep flexes, your tricep has to release in order to allow your arm to bend. This is happening all over your body; expansion/contraction, flexion/release. Remember those six pack abs? They are actually coordinated with muscles that run along your back and around your torso, if you are not equally strengthening the entire muscle group, you can end up with some pretty significant alignment issues.

Muscles are typically comprised of three segments, the origin which is one end of the muscle that attaches to ligament and then to bone or whatever it is attaching to. Then the mid section is called the belly. This is the section that actually does the expanding and contracting. Lastly, there is the insertion, this is found at the other end of the muscle and also typically attaches to a ligament and bone or other structure.

Muscles are metabolic forges; they burn more energy than other components of your body. Typically, the more muscle you have, the more energy you burn even in a resting state. You can build lean muscles mass simply by doing interesting and varied weight bearing exercises that utilize your entire range of motion and create bursts of movement. Typically, for your overall health, building muscle in this way is the most beneficial because it coordinates all the parts of your body, including your heart muscle and you don’t end up out of proportion. Healthy muscles contribute significantly to your overall health.

Move your muscles and maximize your wellness potential. It’s easier than you think.