How Do You Maintain Musculoskeletal Health?

The body has various systems that allow us to live and function normally. Our health depends on ensuring these systems are kept in good condition. One of the most important is the musculoskeletal system which serves several key functions.

What Is the Musculoskeletal System?

The musculoskeletal system refers to the network of bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons and soft tissues in the human body. The human body has 206 bones and over 600 muscles. They perform various functions including:

  • Enabling movement – our muscles act or pull on our bones to enable movement at the joints. They also act on soft tissues that allow us to make facial expressions. These muscles will also act on organs to facilitate other functions like breathing, heartbeat, and bladder control.
  • Support our frame – when our muscles are strong, they can support and protect our organs. When weak, they can become slack and allow for organs to bulge outward.
  • Protection – our organs are kept protected by the muscles and soft tissues that surround them. This is particularly evident in the abdominal cavity which has various organs encased by muscles and bones.
  • Circulation – our body needs blood to be circulated throughout for delivery of nutrients and oxygen. This is made possible by the actions of cardiac muscles that keep the heart pumping.
  • Heat generation – our bodies generate heat through muscle metabolism. When we are exposed to cold temperatures, our muscles will shiver to help warm us up.

The system is primarily controlled by the nervous system. The nervous system sends signals to voluntary muscles that then contract or activate to facilitate motion and maintain posture.

Many health conditions can lead to problems with the musculoskeletal system. When this system is affected it can compromise our ability to move and lead to symptoms of pain. One of the most prevalent health conditions related to the musculoskeletal system is lower back pain.

Many of the conditions that occur can be cured or managed, enabling people to restore their quality of life. However, the best way to improve chances of preserving the healthy condition of your musculoskeletal condition lies in maintaining overall good health. Here is what you should do.

1.    Exercise

Undertaking regular exercise is important to musculoskeletal health. Many of the age-related health problems that can emerge can be delayed or eased by maintaining a regular fitness routine. This will help keep your muscles stronger for longer, offering better support to your bones. It will also help in keeping your weight at a healthy level so as not to strain the system and reduce the risk of developing weight-related health problems.

Being fit and of a healthy weight will also aid in maintaining balance, flexibility, and coordination. You will be able to easily keep moving without added pressure and stress on joints. For those that are already carrying excess weight, losing weight will help alleviate joint pain, make movement easier, and improve joint health. Incorporating stretching exercises is good for joints and muscles, allowing them to become more flexible and prevent injuries that come from rapid movements.

If you have had a sedentary lifestyle, making effort to exercise to strengthen your muscles and lose weight will see you feel more physically fit and lessen many related health conditions you have been suffering. This can mean less reliance on medications for pain relief and a mental boost.

2.    Diet

You can support your musculoskeletal system by consuming a healthy diet that is rich in lean protein, iron, calcium, magnesium, vitamins A, C and K. These nutrients are good for muscle and joint health. They also help in cell repair and provide energy. Vitamin D is also key to bone health so be sure to get enough sun exposure.

Also, ensure that you consume foods that are rich in antioxidants. This will help to combat the damaging effects of free radicals that can stimulate inflammation and ageing.

If you must drink alcohol, limit this consumption to moderate amounts. The same applies to those that like to drink soda. Sugary drinks will affect your blood sugar and promote weight gain that will strain your musculoskeletal frame. Opt for healthier drinks like water that will keep you hydrated without the worry of weight gain.

A healthy and portion-controlled diet will also help with weight loss if needed. Remember that carrying excess weight places extra pressure on your frame so shedding it will help alleviate health problems.

3.    Sleep

Ensure that you get adequate sleep every day. This will help give your joints and muscles time to recover from daily use and rebuild damaged tissues that become worn through normal activity and/or exercise.

Try to maintain a healthy posture when sleeping. Holding awkward positions can cause injury to your muscles and joints, leading to pain on waking up.

4.    Lifestyle Habits

Besides exercise and diet, other poor lifestyle habits can hurt your musculoskeletal system. Smoking can narrow blood vessels and make them more rigid. This can affect blood circulation and lead to various health problems. You will need to quit smoking and stop tobacco use to maintain good health.

5.    Physical Safety

As said, stretching can be a big help when you want to remain or become flexible. This is important when exercising as tight muscles can lead to injury. If you are in a physically demanding job or have such hobbies, making an effort to keep flexible is important to avoid injuries.

Be careful of any activity that requires you to stretch or make rapid motions. For instance, if playing golf or lifting weights at the gym, learn the correct form to avoid injury.