Hello New Year. Muscular System and the why it matters. Huge part of my life.. I have personally seen the benefits to cultivating this body system.
Our muscular system consists all different types of muscle that each play a crucial role in the function of the body, allowing us to move, speak, twerk… and even masticate. Yes, masticate. Google it.
Even surprising functions like temperature regulation and vision rely on the muscular system.
It’s not surprising then that muscles account for roughly 40 percent of our weight with the largest muscle in the body being the gluteus maximus. Even more so for the ladies, like myself that spend time building a sculpting that lovely area. Our muscular system has more than six hundred muscles that cohesively work together to enable our bodies to function amazingly.
Do you know the three types of muscles in the body?
Skeletal muscles are the only muscles that can be consciously controlled. They are attached to bones, and contracting the muscles causes movement of those bones. Anything you consciously think and then move or do involves these muscles.
Think lining or visceral.. it’s all the inside stuff. Smooth muscle lines blood vessels and organs. Essentially it’s the most delicate of the types of muscle but its role is vital in our bodies activities from transporting food through the digestive tract and allowing blood circulation through blood vessels. There is nothing voluntary about smooth muscle.
Only in the heart, cardiac muscle pumps blood around the body. It is by far the most fascinating and my favorite. Hence my predominant background in cardiac cath and electrophysiology. Cardiac muscle has automaticity, which means it stimulates its own electrical activity that causes contractions and forms every single one of our heartbeats. Our nervous systems control the rate of contraction but cardiac muscle is complex, strong, and of course involuntary.
DID YOU KNOW?
The gluteus maximus is the body’s largest muscle and helps maintain an upright posture. Better booty, better posture.
AND the the ear contains the smallest muscles in the body and smallest bones.
Besides fun facts, it’s important to know that our muscles play a part in all functions of the body. When muscles become damaged, it can impact movement, speech, and much more and there are little things you can do each day to create optimal movement or even just move more throughout your day.
Working out really can be the ultimate form of self care for most people.
Exercising will benefit you in many ways:
If you have seen Legally Blonde.. you know exactly what I am talking about. Exercising releases endorphins which is the “happy chemical.” Get moving to increase your happiness. Whether it is a brisk neighborhood walk or the latest WOD or HIIT session.. get moving.
This has also been shown that people are increasingly happier on days when they have been more physically active than usual.
Be a goal digger at the gym.
Whether it’s deciding to increase your squat, shave a couple minutes off your 5K time, or hit a yoga pose you have been struggling with.. setting and achieving exercise goals is an incredible confidence booster. By seeing the power in being a goal digger, you are committing to reaching a fitness benchmark and committing to work towards achieving it. This give you the benefits of the exercise and work involved AND the confidence in reaching it.
Increase your quality of sleep.
Exercising regularly can help you stay asleep and sleep longer. This occurs with the strengthening of circadian rhythms. With exercising you will be at a higher level of alertness during the day and bring on a deeper state of rest during the night.
Energy boosting effects.
After a long day of work.. the last thing you might want to do is squeeze in a workout. According to some of the latest research: a low intensity exercise, even just a 20-30 minute neighborhood walk, decreases fatigue levels greatly and produces about a 20% energy boost.
Exercising regularly can help exercise your memory by increasing the hippocampus size. This part of your brain is responsible for memory and learning.
Improved immunity and increased longevity.
Exercise reduces your risk of breast cancer and strengthens your immune system. Keeping your body happy and healthy will help your live a longer, fuller, more mobile life. This is a great asset as we age. Regular exercise of just 30 minutes, 5x a week has shown to increase overall lifespan by about 4 years.
So how do your sneak more exercise in when your life is super busy?
Integrate interval workouts
Maximize your time and burn more calories with HIIT training. It’s the get more bang for your buck method. You will be doing short bursts of the “all out, balls to the wall, nothing left in the tank” with recovery phases. This is a great method for fat loss.
Become an explorer.
Growing up in AR, there was never a shortage of local hiking trails, biking trails, and just plain beautiful scenery. Wherever you may be.. find those hidden gems. Get out and do some exploring even if it is just around the neighborhood.. You might be surprised.
Walk it out.
Get the extra few minutes by either walking or biking to work if the distance it reasonable.. or even just park out in no man’s land when out shopping. Those few extra steps really do add up! Movement for you health is movement.. so just get moving.
Talk it and walk it or work it out. (say that 10x fast)
Instead of dinner and drinks with a friend.. try heading over to the park for some fresh air, a brisk walk, and some major catching up. You can even plan a friend date at your gym. Take a new class together or just hit the gym for circuit training. It’s good for the body, mind, and spirit. You can even take this corporate if you are in the business world… take part in some walking meetings. It will spark employee creativity, ignite productivity, and leave everyone feeling a little more bright and refreshed to power through the day.
When spontaneity fails.. schedule workouts.
Scheduling things with a date and time as a pillar in your daily activities can be an incredibly effective way of accomplishing your goals. Plan your schedule, set an alarm, and tackle your workout goals.
Move it even while you watch TV.
I love doing this. Instead of melting into the couch, squeeze in some plyometrics while you watch your favorite show. It’ll make you feel awesome and even keep you entertained. You might not even feel like you’re tackling the workout chore.
Do what makes you happy.
Exercising can be difficult when you’re not having fun. I am not, nor ever will be a pilates guru.. SO I don’t make myself. Find your happy in this area and you will be successful. IF it’s running, swimming, biking.. chasing your kids around the yard. It doesn’t matter.. just get moving. Our bodies were meant to move and most importantly be happy.