The muscular system is composed of three different types of muscle:, cardiac, smooth and skeletal. Muscles make up almost 40 percent of the body's weight. Cardiac and smooth muscles are involuntary muscles that act on a regular basis to keep us alive without our conscious input. Skeletal muscles require thought to move. Keeping the muscular system healthy so that it can function properly is extremely important for your well-being.
Regular exercise is an important component of keeping your muscles healthy because the more you work your muscles, the stronger they become. Activities such as swimming, running, walking and hiking are excellent activities that will challenge your muscles. Strength training is a more targeted form of working your muscles and increasing strength and endurance. When beginning any exercise program, it is important to start slowly, increase intensity in small increments and incorporate rest periods between workouts to allow muscles to repair themselves.
Protein is important for keeping muscles healthy because it helps build and repair muscles. A special diet is not needed in order to ensure muscle health, as a well-rounded, balanced diet will provide sufficient nutrients. A balanced diet should be low in saturated fats, refined grains, sugar and cholesterol. Intake of fruits, vegetables, lean protein sources such as turkey, chicken and lean beef, nuts and low-fat dairy products should be high. An important thing to remember is that the number of calories you consume should not exceed the amount you burn through exercise and everyday physical activity. Excess intake of calories without burning the same amount or more, can lead to weight gain. Weight gain can affect your muscular health over time.
Drinking adequate amounts of water is vital for the health of our muscles as well as our overall health. Without water, the body can become dehydrated. Dehydration can lead to dizziness, headaches and muscle cramps. Eight, 8-ounce glasses of water daily is the recommended intake for the average individual. An easy way to ensure that you consume enough water each day is to carry a reusable water bottle with you at all times and sip regularly.
Muscular injuries are extremely common and can range from minor to severe but can be prevented by taking a few simple precautions. Warming up before exercise will help increase flexibility and make muscles warm. Cooling down after exercise will help loosen muscles that have been tightened during exercise. Another important injury prevention method is consistently wearing protective gear during competitive sports or activities that have a level of risk involved, for example, wearing a helmet while biking, or elbow and knee pads while rollerblading. When a muscle strain or injury does occur, it is important to not push through the pain and give your body time to heal.
Amanda Davis began writing in 2010 with work published on various websites. Davis is a dietetic technician, registered, personal trainer and fitness instructor. She has experience working with a variety of ages, fitness levels and medical conditions. She holds a dual Bachelor of Science in exercise science and nutrition from Appalachian State University and is working toward her master's degree in public health. Davis will be a registry eligible dietitian in May 2015.