Major Funding The Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation

Muscles: Top 10 Questions

December 2013

Thanks to Dr. Anthony Joseph, physician, Family Practice and Sports Medicine for the answers.

1: What are muscles made of?

Muscles are made out of a substance called protein. Protein gives the muscle its structure and holds it together. (From Deborah at Cynthia Mann Elementary School in Boise)

2: Can you transplant a muscle?

One of the muscles we can transplant is the heart muscle. It's done almost every day around the world, and there are various programs to save the heart. The heart is one big muscle, and it can be transplanted from one person and put into another person. (From Brody at Valley View Elementary School in Boise)

3: How many muscles do we have in our body?

We have approximately 650 muscles in our body. (From Amy at Cynthia Mann Elementary School in Boise)

4: Why do muscles hurt after exercise?

There are two reasons why our muscles hurt after we exercise. First, immediately after exercise our muscles will accumulate a substance called lactic acid. The lactic acid in your muscles will cause them to burn and ache. And second, there is a delayed response. You may notice your muscles aching one or two days after you run or lift hard. The cellular structure of the muscle actually breaks down and tears. This gives your body stimuli to make a stronger muscle. So, it comes back being stronger than it was. (From Kendrick at Kamiah Elementary School in Kamiah)

5: How come we shiver or get goose bumps when we are cold or scared?

We have a series of involuntary muscles in our skin. These are muscles that we don't tell to contract. When these muscles contract, they pinch our skin in a method that creates little bumps. We call these goose bumps. These little bumps tell our skin to take the blood that normally goes to it and divert it back into our body. This helps us keep that warm blood inside ourselves. We also shiver as a way to contract our muscles. Again, we don't tell our muscles to do that. Usually, after we get goose bumps, we start shivering. The shivering is our muscles generating energy. This energy, which is stored in our muscles, helps create heat for our bodies. (From Reese at Dalton Elementary School in Dalton Gardens)

6: What is the most important muscle in your body?

It's a matter of opinion, but I would say that the heart is our most important muscle. If it stops functioning, then we stop functioning. (From Cabree at Caldwell Adventist Elementary School in Caldwell)

7: Why is exercising important for a healthy muscle?

Exercise does several things: It not only strengthens the muscles of your whole body and holds your skeleton together, but it also strengthens your heart. Your heart requires exercise to make it stronger so that if something happens to you, it can respond more forcefully. Extra force in the muscles of our body and in our heart keeps us going throughout our lifetime. (From Tony at Caldwell Adventist Elementary School in Caldwell)

8: Are all muscles made of the same thing?

We have different muscles in our bodies. The voluntary muscles are made of the same proteins and the same structural makeup. The same holds true for our involuntary muscles, either in the smooth or the cardiac muscles. They are a little bit different in their structure, but all of those categories of muscles have the same substance. (From Kyle at Dalton Elementary School in Dalton Gardens)

9: What is the thickest muscle?

The thickest muscle in the body is the gluteus maximus. That's the muscle that is behind you, known as your bottom. It's a muscle you sit on, but it is a very powerful muscle and is used for running, jumping, and other activities where you need to control your legs. (From Jennifer at Caldwell Adventist Elementary School in Caldwell)

10: Do muscles have fluids in them?

Muscles do have fluid in them. They have a very large blood supply. The majority of blood is fluid. Also, within the structure of muscle, we will find water. Water helps carry the calcium and other substances that help the muscles function and contract. (From Jaden at Cynthia Mann Elementary School in Boise)

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