Posted In: Biology

The main function of the muscular system is movement. Muscles can move the body as they have the ability to contract. The second vital function of the muscular system is to maintain body posture and position.

The muscular system organs consists of three types of muscle tissues. They are visceral muscle,  cardiac muscle and skeletal muscle.

Muscular system | Image source:

Visceral muscle
The Visceral muscle is the weakest of all muscles. It is found in organs like the stomach, intestine and blood vessels. It contracts to move substances through the organ. It is controlled by the unconscious part of the brain. As it cannot be directly controlled by the mind, the visceral muscle is called an involuntary muscle.

Cardiac muscle
The Cardiac muscle is found only in the heart. It is responsible for pumping blood in the entire body. It cannot be controlled consciously and is called the involuntary muscle. While the human brain can adjust the rate at which the cardiac muscle contracts, the muscle stimulates itself to contract.  As it can contract on its own it is considered to be intrinsically controlled. This muscle is very strong.

Skeletal muscle
The Skeletal muscle is the only muscle in the body that can be consciously controlled hence it is called a voluntary muscle. For every human action be it speaking, writing, walking or any other action it requires the skeletal muscle. The skeletal muscle contracts and this moves the parts of the body closer to the bone that it is attached to. It is mostly attached to two bones across a joint. It is striated muscle and the muscle fibres are very strong.

Did you know: There are 640 muscles in the human body

How does the muscular system work?
The muscle tissue is the only part of the body which can contract and thus move the other parts of the body. The muscular system also help maintain posture and body position.  The muscles contract to keep the body in a particular position and this is the reason why these muscles have the highest levels of tolerance compared to all other muscles in the body. One more function of the muscle is to help in the movement of substances within the body. The muscles transport blood and nutrients in the body. The last function of the muscle is to generate body heat. As a result of high metabolic rate of the contracting muscle the muscular system generates waste heat. Many small muscles contract to produce the natural body heat. The muscle contraction leads to rise in the body temperature and eventually sweating when we exert ourselves.

Muscular system and other systems
The muscular system works with the nervous system, the circulatory system, the digestive system, the respiratory system and the immune system.

  • The circulatory system carries nutrients to the muscles. It also carries hormones that regulate muscle activity.
  • Muscles of the jaw help us to chew our food. The food is then moved from the mouth to the stomach. The muscles in the intestine help to move the digested food. This is how the muscular system works with the digestive system.
  • The main muscle in the respiratory system is the diaphragm which is a large flat muscle. Movement of the diaphragm causes the lungs to inflate and deflate as we breathe.

Muscles move fluids like blood and lymph in the body and in this way it assists the immune system.



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