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Did you know that you have over 640 muscles in your body responsible for movement? Have you ever thought about exactly how your muscles work? Some are very tiny and some are extremely large. Some are designed to provide great power for a short period of time, and some are designed to keep going for years. For example, your leg muscles can produce great bursts of energy for a short period of time, while your heart muscle continues working day and night for all the years that you are alive.


The way muscles actually work is very complicated, and in truth, I don’t believe we fully understand the process. Muscles have a huge need for energy. Interestingly, however, muscles cannot push, they can only pull. So for every muscle that pulls your arms down, there has to be a corresponding muscle to pull it back up again. And when the muscle that pulls your arm down is working, there has to be an automatic feedback loop to tell the muscle that works the other way (by pulling your arm up), to relax. Of course we take all this for granted, but there are literally millions of signals running up and down your nervous system, to and from the brain, in order for you to make even the simplest movement happen.

There are huge numbers of sensors all over your body, built into your muscles, that tell the brain where you are in this three dimensional world. There are little cells built into each muscle whose job it is to protect the muscle from being damaged. These little cells are called spindle cells and they have quite a complex structure. Basically they work like this: as a muscle contracts it squeezes the little spindle cells, which have a sack like structure. This squeezing motion sends a message to the brain to tell the brain how the muscle is doing. If the spindle cell gets squeezed too tightly, the brain gets the message that the muscle is in trouble, and it sends a signal to the muscle to switch off and let go. This is only one of the many systems that are built into your body to protect you from damaging yourself.

It is actually truly amazing that any of us can stand up or walk, let alone talk, see and hear, because all these functions are dependent on muscles, and muscles are dependent on energy and having the right nutrients to ensure that they can work. So what you eat does have a big impact on how you physically function, especially as today most people are overfed and undernourished because the food that they are eating is deficient in essential nutrients. Just in case you don’t realise how hard your muscles work, think about the fact that your heart muscle beats over 100,000 times each day and around 40 million times a year! And that is just your heart - imagine how much other work your muscles do every single day...

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