Thursday, November 27, 2008

What Gives Your Body its Shape?

Lets talk about our body shape. The body's skeleton is covered with muscles. What purposes do the bones serve? Why are there many layers of muscles? How are the muscles attached to bones? Can you locate hinge joints? Ball-and-socket joints?

A completed building presents a very different appearance after athe steel framework is hidden by brick, concrete, glass, and other materials of construction. In similar manner, the outlines of the human skeleton, bony and angular as it is, are rounded and softened by the flesh that covers it. Flesh is made primarily of muscles and fat with networks of blood vessels and nerves.

The muscles cover the bones. Muscles are bundles of elastic fibers arranged in regular order in layers over the entire body. Some muscles are fastened directly to bones, others are attached by tendons. Tendons are very though bands or cords made of the extensions of the connective tissue which covers and holds together the individual muscle cells. You can see and feel the tendon in the heel and the tendons in the back of the hand.

Someone with a well-developed muscular system has a physique that is well proportioned and flesh that is firm. Such a body is desired by everyone. Heredity largely determines the shape and size of our skeleton, but we can do a great deal about its muscular covering.

Fat softens the outline of the body. There are small deposits of fat cells among the muscle fibers. These serve as storehouses of energy and are necessary. Larger pads of fat, called adipose tissue, cushions organs. Near the surface of the body this tissue acts as insulation to prevent loss of heat. It is desirable to have a small amount of this padding, but too much adipose tissue interferes with efficient muscular actions and increase weight. When the muscular structure of the body is hidden by layers of fat the natural outline is lost.

The relative amounts of muscle and fat on the body are controlled by the kind and quantitiy of food eaten and the amount of exercise. If the right amounts of a variety of foods are eaten and there is sufficient exercise everyday, the body will have normal proportions. It is not thin and angular; nor is it heavy and shapeless.

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