YOUR WEEKLY DOSE OF WOWZERS AND WONDER FROM THE NATURAL WORLD
This week, we’re talking about something you use every single day. Maybe even every single minute!
But you probably don’t think about them too much.
Yet, without them, life as we know it wouldn’t be the same.
Get ready to flex your thinking skills while we explore muscles!
When you think of muscles, you probably think of big, burly bodybuilders, strong superheroes, or amazing athletes.
But muscles aren’t just about bulging arms or legs. They come in a vast range of sizes.
In fact, thesmallest muscle in your body, the stapedius muscle, is so small that it hides out in your ear!
Its only job is to stabilize the stapes, which coincidentally, isthe smallest bone in your body!
But without that tiny muscle and bone, our hearing — and how we experience the world around us — would be drastically different!
One thing all muscles have in common is their ability to contract. The way muscle cells — often called muscle fibres — are formed, allows them to get shorter or longer as needed.
This makes them an essential part of us being able to move around and interact with our world.
Whether you’re walking, crawling, lifting your backpack, or holding a video game controller, your muscles make it possible!
There are three types of muscles in your body: smooth, cardiac, and skeletal.
Smooth muscles are ones that you have no control over, but they are still essential!
These are muscles like the ones in your gut that help to digest food, or the ones in your blood vessels that help manage the pressure and flow of blood throughout your body.
Cardiac muscle is found exclusively in the heart. It’s another example of a muscle that moves on its own, without you having to think about it.
Finally, there is skeletal muscle. This is the type of muscle that probably comes to mind when you think about the muscles in your body.
They get this name because they attach to your bonesusing connectors called tendons.
Muscles can pull, but can’t push, so they work in pairs called flexors and extensors. Your body moves when these pairs contract and relax.
From the top of your head to the tips of your toes, you’ll find more than 600 muscles throughout your body!
Interestingly, the actual amount of muscle fibres in your body remains similar from childhood to adulthood.
Want big muscles like your favourite superhero? Then you better get your body moving!
Building big, strong muscles requires a process called hypertrophy, which can be obtained by lifting weights orperforming bodyweight exercises such as pushups or squats.
So the next time you’re walking, hiking, or playing outside, take a moment to think about all of the muscles at work in your body, and how they make exploring your world possible.
We think you’ll agree that muscles are pretty Wowzerful!
Even small muscles are important. The muscles that control your eyes can move up to 10,000 times in a single hour of reading!
The parts of your brainwhich control motion work the opposite side of your body. So the left motor cortex controls your right arm, and the right motor cortex controls your left!
The cardiac muscle in your heart will do the most work out of any muscle in your body throughout your life. This amazing muscle will pump around 9,500 litres (2,500 gallons) of blood through your body every day!
The largest muscle on the human body is the gluteus maximus—also known as your butt!
Learn about how muscles work and why exercise can help them grow in this Ted ED animation