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What is Muscle?

Last updated date: 31st Jan 2023
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In Science, Muscle can be defined as the soft tissue found in living organisms, especially humans and animals. Muscles are contractile tissues present in the human and animal bodies and function in a group to coordinate the efficient functioning of human and animal organs. The muscle tissue cells are made up of protein filaments of actin and myosin. The protein filaments are arranged one upon the other to help in muscle movement and provide flexibility to the muscles. The term muscle comes from the Latin word “musculus”, which means a little mouse. It is because the shape is pretty much similar to the little mouse “musculus”.   

Above, we discussed muscle tissue; now, let’s discuss types of muscles, their function, and structure.


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Muscle Tissue Function

The human body is entirely dependent on the muscular system for perfect posture and stability. Apart from movement, the muscular system is responsible for many other functions of the body. Here, we have mentioned some vital muscle tissue functions:

  • Locomotion: The muscles in the human and animal work in groups to help generate locomotion. They help humans and animals to move their bodies as per their requirements. The calf muscle of the legs provide flexibility and help in walking, running, and many other activities.

  • Posture and Stability: The muscle tissues stretch and cover the joints in the body to provide smooth functioning and stability to the joints. The Skeletal muscles provide the body with a correct and comfortable posture.

  • Circulation: The heart or cardiac muscle is responsible for the blood flow throughout the body. It also helps maintain blood circulation and blood pressure in the body.

  • Respiration: The diaphragm muscles help in the breathing and respiration process. They help in maintaining air circulation and oxygen supply in the body.

  • Organ Protection: The human and animal body muscles protect the internal organs from being exposed to the outside environment. They also help in preventing the organs from damage.

  • Digestion: The muscles of the intestine help in the efficient digestion and excretion process. It helps the food to pass smoothly throughout the body.


Types of Muscles

Based on their structure and functions, muscles can be divided into three major categories - the Skeletal muscle, the Cardiac muscle, and the Smooth muscle. Furthermore, the muscle tissue can also be divided into two significant categories based on their actions: voluntary and involuntary muscles. Now, let’s discuss the types of muscles in detail.


Skeletal Muscle

The skeletal muscle is a type of muscle tissue found near the bones in human and animal bodies. These muscle tissues are attached to the bones and are responsible for the efficient functioning and movement of the human and animal bodies. The Skeletal muscles are also called Striated muscles. They form a part of the central nervous system and are known as voluntary muscles.

The Skeletal muscles consist of a series of muscle fibres that are made up of muscle cells. The striated muscles are cylindrical in shape and consist of branched cells attached to the bones with an elastic tissue called a tendon.

The Skeletal muscles help in maintaining the body posture. They are also involved in regulating the temperature in the body. These muscles connect and control all the movement in the skeletal system of the body. The Skeletal muscles are responsible for performing involuntary movements in the body. It is also responsible for other movements of the body such as walking, breathing, writing, running, etc.

The Sphincter muscles present near the mouth, urinary tract, and anus can be an example of the Skeletal muscles. 


Cardiac Muscles

Cardiac muscle is another type of muscle found only in the heart of animals and human beings. These muscles are self-stimulating with a medium speed of contraction and energy requirement. The cardiac muscles are responsible for maintaining the functionality of the heart. They help in the smooth pumping and circulation of blood throughout the body. They help in the efficient contraction and relaxation of the heart. 

The cardiac muscles are a series of fibres that are cylindrical and branched near the nucleus of the cells. They have intercalated discs that help them join the neighbouring fibres. 

The cardiac muscles are primarily involved in the functioning of the heart. They contract and relax the heart for smooth blood circulation. 

They are also responsible for the involuntary actions of the body parts. These muscles work 24*7 and automatically make the heart pump blood for better oxygen circulation throughout the body.


Smooth Muscles

Smooth muscles are not striated muscles that the Autonomous Nervous System controls. These muscles are involuntary muscles found in almost all the body organs, including the stomach, bladder, eyes, bile duct, etc. The smooth muscles are spindle-shaped and contain a single nucleus. The smooth muscles lack filaments and proteins and also produce their connective tissue. 

The smooth muscles are involved in producing collagen and elastin. They help in the contraction of the intestinal tube by transporting Chyme fluid. 


Voluntary Muscles

Voluntary muscles are long muscles containing sarcomeres assembled in bundles. These muscles have multinucleated cells and are made up of cylindrical fibres. One can find these muscles attached to the bones and skin. The voluntary muscles contract and relax by allowing smooth movement in the body. The Central nervous system controls these muscles.


Involuntary Muscles

Involuntary muscles are branched and striated muscles that the Autonomous Nervous System controls. The smooth and cardiac muscles form a part of the involuntary muscles.


Common Muscle Problems

During the body’s normal functioning, muscles bear a lot of damage and pain due to wear and tear. Here we have mentioned some of the everyday muscle problems:

  • Muscle Strain: Muscle strain is the injury caused to the muscles or tendons connected to the bones.

  • Muscle Spasm: Muscle spasm, also known as muscular cramps, are involuntary contractions of the muscles. In this condition, the muscles cannot relax, and it might result in muscle pain.


Muscle Systems Tissue - Facts of Muscle

Here are some fun facts about muscles:

  • In the human body, muscles make up around 40% of the total body weight.

  • The heart or the cardiac muscle is the most hard-working muscle in the body. It pumps approximately 2,000 gallons of blood regularly.

  • The smallest muscles in the body can be found in the ear.

Above, we discussed what is muscle tissue, the types of muscles, and the functions of muscles. You can also refer to the muscle tissue diagram in the article for a better understanding.

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FAQs on Muscle

1. What are muscles? What is its type?

Ans: Muscles are contractile tissues present in the human and animal bodies and function in a group to coordinate the efficient functioning of human and animal organs. The muscle tissue cells are made up of protein filaments of actin and myosin. The protein filaments are arranged one upon the other to help in muscle movement and provide flexibility to the muscles. Based on their structure and functions, muscles can be divided into three major categories - the Skeletal muscle, the Cardiac muscle, and the Smooth muscle. Furthermore, the muscle tissue can also be divided into two significant categories based on their actions: voluntary and involuntary muscles.

2. Explain the Role of Muscles in the human body.

Ans: Muscles play a crucial role in maintaining the structure of the body. They help provide the body with stability and a good posture. They are responsible for locomotion in the human body. They help humans and animals to move their bodies as per their requirements. The calf muscle of the legs provides flexibility and helps in walking, running, and many other activities. The heart or cardiac muscle is responsible for the blood flow throughout the body. The muscle tissues stretch and cover the joints in the body to provide smooth functioning and stability to the joints. The human and animal body muscles protect the internal organs from being exposed to the outside environment.


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