Monday, October 4, 2010

Effects of Exercise on the Musculoskeletal System

The effects of exercise on the musculoskeletal system are the greatest benefits people can ask for to maintain effectiveness of muscle and bone activities. While there can be benefits of exercising, so does limitations. I hope I can share more about it, but my focus is to give you some insight about the effects of exercise on musculoskeletal system.

Imagine now that you’ve done a lot of exercises yourself, but do you really know what happens when you induce stress to the musculoskeletal system? Do you really understand the terms effects of exercise on the musculoskeletal system? I’ll give you simple explanations about this. So, we begin with the effects of exercise on the muscular system and then with the skeletal system.

Muscles

With exercise, the weight or stress you’ve induced to the muscles can create resistance and then contraction of the muscles can be elicited. These contractions enable the muscles to increase in size significantly. Along with the increase in size is the increase in strength as well. Continuous exercise, coupled with weight bearing activities, hypertrophy, medical term for increase in muscle size, of the muscles will be evident. You can just imagine why body builders have huge bulk of muscles all over their body. They tend to carry heavy barbells, dumbbells, and all you can think of, which create greater resistance, leading to a more solid contraction, resulting to greater muscle size and strength. That also explains why runners have well defined legs, swimmers with broad shoulders, basketball players with solid biceps and triceps, and many more.

Bones

Benefits of exercise on the skeletal system are also very interesting. Let us make this as simple as this: according to Guyton and Hall, Textbook of Medical Physiology, continuous physical stress stimulates osteoblastic deposition and calcification of bones. Osteoblasts are cells responsible for the formation of bones, while calcification is the process wherein there is a buildup of calcium salts causing the bone to harden. Given these facts, a person can be assured that inducing physical stress through exercise helps in developing stronger bone tissues. That explains why people who do physical activities, especially athletes, don’t easily get injured. Well, that also shows why inactive people have weaker bones, making them susceptible to all sorts of physical injuries.

Ligaments

Ligaments are strong bonds of connective tissues that attach bones to bones. They are made up of collagen fibers that give them their strength. They usually encapsulate a joint to provide additional strength and stability with joint movement. Without exercise, the ligaments can loosen up. Exercise can help them maintain their power and durability.

Tendons

Tendons form the ends of the muscles which hold the muscles to the bones. The fibers of the tendons are long, and are very strong that they can transmit immense forces without damaging themselves. Most medical resources would agree that tendons function as springs. What’s with the spring? They’re strong, they can stretch and expand, and they can recoil. The stretching and recoil thing suggests the transmission of force produced by muscles to the bones. Exercise can amplify their strength, preventing them from becoming physically injured.

Cartilage

Cartilage is a semi-smooth tissue that forms a cap at the ends of the bones. It provides support by protecting the bones against weight bearing actions. Cartilage should be engaged with joint movement and weight bearing exercises for it to remain healthy. Such exercises keep the cartilage from becoming thin and damaged, which can make them vulnerable to injury or degenerative joint disease.

Joints

Joints hold the bones together while allowing movement between them. The degree of joint movement is called range of motion, or ROM. Exercises for the joints include range of motion exercises. These develop the extent of joint movements without feeling any discomfort.

The effects of exercise on the musculoskeletal system are beneficial for optimum physical functioning of the body. However, it should be done in moderation, especially within one’s cardiac tolerance. You see, exercise can stress the entire body not just the musculoskeletal system. Effects of stress on the heart can be detrimental. Moreover, excessive exercise may induce injury to musculoskeletal structures. Rest periods may also be helpful to relax the structures involved, as well as to regain energy lost with exercise.

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