A Few Facts About Muscles You May Not Know
If you're looking for facts about muscles, you've come to the right place! As we all know, muscles are essential to the movement of the human body, but many take for granted just how fascinating the muscle groups can be! We are going to discuss some well-known and not-so-well-known facts about muscles to help paint a better picture in your mind about their essential role in the human body. Let's start off by noting the different types of muscle found in the body.
There are actually three types of muscle in the human body, which are skeletal, cardiac, and smooth. The skeletal muscles are, as you would have guessed, are attached to the bones by tendons. The role of these guys is to move the skeleton (i.e. walking, swinging your arms, or turning your head), to help us maintain posture while sitting or standing, and in a general sense, to create force through movement. These muscles can be controlled both consciously and unconsciously, and make up about 42% of the average man's body mass and 36% of the average woman's.
The cardiac muscles are found only in the heart (hence the name). Although these muscles resemble skeletal muscles in structure, they operate on a completely involuntary basis, which is why we don't have to command the heart to beat--it just does! And last, but not least, we have the smooth muscles, which are contained mostly in the walls of organs. This type of muscle also moves on an involuntary basis. For instance, when food is pushed along through the intestines, these muscles are working within the intestines and without our conscious effort.
Although most of us have heard that the tongue is the strongest muscle in the human body, this is simply not true. 1) Because the human tongue consists of sixteen different muscles, not just one, and 2) because there are simply too many different ways to determine "strength". If we were to try to determine the strongest muscle based off of the amount of work that the muscle does over its lifetime, the heart would take first place. However, if we were to say that strength should be measure on a "pound for pound" scale, the uterus would likely take the gold. But, if we want to determine the strongest muscle in terms of how much raw force it can exert, it would be the jaw muscle.
So, what happens to our muscles when we don't use them? Have you ever heard that phrase, "If you don't use it, you lose it"? That's one way to describe the deterioration and general weakening of our muscles if they experience a prolonged period of immobility. This is actually a problem that astronauts experience, but they aren't the only ones. Say Joe starts hitting the gym three nights a week. After a few months, he's got quite the rippling physique. Pleased with the results, Joe no longer hits the gym but maintains a very laid-back schedule. After a few months, Joe realizes that his physique is back to square one, as if he had never took up weightlifting. Muscles need a lot of protein to maintain their size, but they also must have repetitive stimulation. If the muscles aren't getting what they need to maintain their current size and shape, they will naturally decrease to a size more fitting of the body's current condition and lifestyle.
As you can see, there is quite a lot to be said about the human muscular structure. Thanks to these fun facts about muscles, you now know that there are three different types of muscle, the tongue is not the strongest muscle in the body, and astronauts don't get much exercise in space.