Have you ever wondered why don’t you feel the downward movement of the food you gulp? Or, how your heart contracts and expands without giving a slightest hint to you? If these were baffling you enough, wonder why at the slightest touch of a heated object, your hand immediately performs a reflex action and moves away? These are a few involuntary muscle functions performed by the muscular system upon which we don’t have any control over. However, apart from them, there are also many functions that we perform voluntarily with the help of our muscular systems, such as running, walking, climbing and even hitting someone. From the slightest movement of the eyebrows to the loudest shout we make while watching a match, all these functions are performed by our muscular system. Without muscular system, we are as good as a log of wood, lifeless and useless, that can’t even move by itself. Before knowing more about muscular system functions, it is important for you to get a little information about your muscular system.
Perhaps you will be amazed to know that there are around 600 various types of muscles that constitute our muscular system. These muscles are basically categorized into three different classes — cardiac, smooth and skeletal. Among these, cardiac muscles are the only ones that are found in heart. These are involuntary in nature and are controlled by the lower section of the brain called the medulla oblungata. Smooth muscles are directly controlled by autonomous nervous system and are also involuntary in nature; cardiovascular muscles are the examples of smooth muscles. Apart from these involuntary muscles, the only types of muscles that are voluntary in nature are skeletal muscles. These are the muscles that help us to move our bones and other parts of the body. Skeletal muscles can be further divided into other types based on their position in the body such as facial, neck, shoulder, arm, abdomen and few other types. Now that you have got a brief insight about the muscular system, let’s know more about the important functions it performs. Below are mentioned some important functions of muscular systems.
Main Functions Of Muscular System
Movement is one of the major functions of muscular systems. Central nervous system directs the muscles to contract and expand according to the need of the situations. Muscles have the strength to move the bones and perform the required action. These actions are mostly voluntary, which means we direct the muscles to perform the actions. Movement includes running, jumping, climbing, hiking, lifting, biking and other actions.
Stability & Posture
Skeletal muscles are solely responsible for maintaining the stability and posture. Skeletal muscles are attached with the bones through ligaments and tendons. To perform an action, bone acts like the lever, while the muscles contract or relax, thereby moving the bone. Another remarkable property of skeletal muscles is that they can be stretched further to allow maximum stability and form. No wonder when we feel too much strained at muscles, we cannot stand properly or generally slouch. These muscles are also important to maintain the balance and coordination of the body.
The important functions of the body like pumping of the blood and its circulation through different parts of the body are performed by smooth muscles. These muscles perform involuntarily action, such as contracting and relaxing heart muscles and pumping blood in the body. The same action is performed in the arteries, which further helps in circulation of the blood and oxygen throughout the body.
What happens to the food after you chew and gulp it down? Got any clue? Not the least, we guess. Only till the time the food reaches the throat is it voluntarily after which, the rest movement of the food from throat to anus is involuntary and is performed by smooth muscles. The food is chewed in the mouth by the teeth which are voluntary but once it enters esophagus, it moves down the digestive tract through the process of peristalsis. This food is again churned by the muscles in stomach to absorb energy and nutrients and is then passed down to the rectal region for excretion.
The body constantly needs to maintain and regulate its normal body temperature. Whenever it is cold outside, our body involuntarily shivers. In this way, the muscles are contracting and hence producing heat to maintain its normal temperature. Similarly in the summers, when our body is exposed to extreme heat, these muscles redistribute heat to the skin and hence produce sweat to regulate body temperature.
So, the next time you are walking and running, you better give some credit to your muscles for their untiring and continuous job!