Functions of the Muscular System

Muscle Madness

Types of Muscles

The muscular system in your body is composed three types of muscle, skeletal muscle, cardiac muscle, and smooth muscle. First off, skeletal muscle is mainly attached to your skeleton and moves by control or voluntarily. Next, cardiac muscle is the muscle of your heart and contracts by itself or involuntarily. Finally, smooth muscle is found in your blood vessels, eyes, hair follicles and the walls of organs like your stomach and intestines.

Skeletal Muscle

The main function of skeletal muscle is to provide simple voluntary movements to keep you alive. Large movements would include things like walking, running, standing, playing sports, cooking, or even spinning in a chair. Smaller movements would include chewing, drinking, blinking, talking, and typing. Skeletal muscles also contract as a reflex to stimuli, like moving your hand from a hot cup, pulling your finger away from touching a sharp object to look at it, or blinking your eyes when an eyelash lands on it. Your abdominal muscles and lower back muscles also help to protect some of your vital organs.

Cardiac Muscle

Your cardiac muscles pump blood. The contraction of the heart muscle is involuntary and is mainly controlled by your heart's own electrical system with and without influence from factors in the blood. Your heart is supposed to receive blood from your muscles, pump it to your lungs, receive the blood from your lungs, and then pump it out into your arteries to take care of your whole body. But when a heart muscle doesn't receive enough blood because of dead heart tissue or lack of oxygen, you’ll have a heart attack.

Smooth Muscle

Smooth muscle helps in blood flow and digestion. There are smooth muscles on the wall of your blood vessels. When your heart goes to contract, your arteries also expand to take the blood in. The smooth muscles in your arteries contract to push blood through the blood vessel systems. That ends up pushing the blood from your arterioles to your capillaries to go back to your heart. Plaque can build up on the walls of your arteries which cause them to harden and the muscles in your arteries won’t contract properly. The smooth muscles in your stomach and intestines work together to digest the food you eat. The involuntary contractions in those muscles aid in digestion and in moving food along your digestive tract.