By Elias Abichacra (Phd)
At this stage I think it is very important to know some facts concerning our body. A person who wants to practice a physical activity (PA) has to know how the human body (HB) functions. The HB is a union of 11 systems or functions. In our everyday life, they fill alternatively important missions to keep the body function normally and safely. Depending on our daily activity, some functions dominate while others are on stand-by waiting to intervene when their turn to enter in action comes. Depending on the biological necessity we observe that there is precedence of some functions to the detriment of others.
The human body has several levels of organization which are the body, systems, organs, tissues, cells and molecules. Our body is composed of 11 different systems or functions which are the Skeleton, Muscular, Nervous, Circulatory, Respiratory, Urinary, Endocrine, Digestive, Lymphatic, Reproductive, and finally the Integumentary. Seventy eight organs compose the 11 systems. Each system is composed of different organs and each organ is made of tissues that are composed by a union of identical cells. Cells can be considered as bricks of life that are specialized to perform a defined action. This complex network cells, tissues and organs produce a specialized function. The Skeletal System gives a structure to our body and serves as an attaching point to the muscles. The Muscular System (MS) by crossing the different joints is responsible for any movement that our body performs. The Nervous System (NS) composed by our brain and Spinal cord extended by nerves is responsible to excite the muscles and help create movement. There is a perfect synergy between the MS and the NS. A nerve without a muscle to excite becomes useless and withers. A muscle that can’t receive nervous impulse weakens and atrophies. When the muscle and the nerve are connected by surgery both retrieve. The Cardiovascular System (CVS) is composed of the heart, the different blood vessels and an important life sustaining liquid, the blood. We also have the Respiratory System which works closely with the CVS bringing the most vital element of life: Oxygen and expels a harmful by-product which is Carbon Dioxide. It is closely assisted by the MS which helps air penetrate the lungs. The Red cells that are the main components of blood help transport the vital Oxygen to the different cells of our body. The Digestive System, after transforming the food we take into nutriments, brings energy and construction material necessary to maintain our body. The Urinary System helps by filtering the blood of our body evacuate salt, exercise by-products by mixing and diluting them with water. The Endocrine System, by producing biochemical products, helps regulate the internal function of our body. And finally the Reproductive System is the only system that presents different forms if you are a man or a woman and is useful to procreate. All the other Functions are identical whatever the gender of the person.
When performing a physical activity we are mostly interested on the spot by our muscles that are the primary actors of movement, our nerves that command our muscles and the skeleton where the presence of different configurations of joints help create a variety of movement types. The CVS as well as the RS are active from the start to the end of the PA. Of course lately the Digestive System intervenes because we need to compensate the energy loss as well as bringing building material to repair the damage caused by the exercises we have done.
Whatever the gender of the person, we have 206 bones of different sizes and shapes. Half of them are located in our hands and feet and most of them are twins that exist on our right and left part of the body. Very few bones are single units. The bones that are very important are situated in the rear part of our body and form a column which is semi rigid and semi mobile with a piling of 33 vertebrae of which 24 are mobile. They start from the nape of the neck and finish on the top of the pelvis bone. The last nine vertebrae are stuck and form our sacrum bone and the coccyx. The 24 vertebrae are piled one upon the other with a cushion/disc which contains 92 % of water helping separate each unit and absorb shock. Hydration to keep the physical integrity of these elements is very important. In sports and PA the backbone is considered as the weakest part of our body and should be taken care permanently because injuring this part of our body can seriously hamper our daily life. The back bone is mobile on the top with the 7 bones forming our neck and the last 5 lumbar vertebrae of our waist. Their degree of liberty is limited by different types and sizes of ligaments and bone excrescences that are there to avoid hyperextension that can damage the Spinal cord. Coaches and trainers are taught to respect the curves of the Vertebral Column by neither trying to reverse, nor aggravating the natural curves but keeping a correct balance between Strength training and Stretching. When performing abdominal muscles workouts, we can easily damage the lumbar part of our backbone due to the existence of a strange deep muscle called Illiopsoas which doesn’t have a rectilinear form, due to the existence of the Pelvis bone. This muscle exercises tension on the lumbar vertebrae. Its existence can be materialized easily by lying on the floor legs fully extended. Before reaching the buttocks, there is a curve which disappears when the hips are bent. Honestly speaking medicine has done a lot of progress but hasn’t completely solved the problem of a damaged backbone. So keep the physical integrity whenever you perform PA.
Remember Health is Wealth!
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