Understanding the musculoskeletal system and its function is essential in order to take care of it in the event of a sports injury, or if you live a sedentary lifestyle. A suitable diet is the first step.
Advisor: Héctor Fabio Cruz
Sports Medicine Physician, practitioner as Coomeva Private Healthcare
Body movements are key to the correct performance of all its functions. For this reason, when you stop being active — either due to physical inactivity, an injury or hospitalization — the changes are immediate: tiredness, weakness, a lack of energy, digestive problems, and even problems getting to sleep all make an appearance. As the sports medicine physician Héctor Fabio Cruz explains, this absence of physical activity, on top of not watching your diet, are the main driving forces behind the loss of muscle mass and strength, a condition known as sarcopenia.
What does it consist of?
It is usually associated with aging, although sedentarism and protein deficiencies can accelerate the loss of muscle mass and strength at any age. It is also accompanied by deficiencies in vitamin D and B-complex vitamins.
The muscles hold the skeleton together, give shape to the body and are essential for everyday movements like getting out of bed, walking up stairs and picking up or lifting heavy objects. Even when a person is sitting down, some of their muscles are working to enable the heart to beat and the chest to expand.
Exercise and physical activity
The former is a structured activity with clear repetitions, times and goals, while the latter includes any body movement, such as walking or sitting on a chair.
When exercise isn’t a habit, not only are you at more risk of cardiovascular problems, but your muscles begin to lose strength, volume and elasticity, which leads to an increase in body fat percentages. This varies according to gender, age and pre-existing conditions.
If an injury is involved
When sedentarism is not the obstacle, but rather a physical injury that impedes a patient’s ability to move or exercise, muscle stimulation is required and should be guided by a specialist depending on the type of injury. Maintaining support or having contact with the ground is vital: in other words, standing up and supporting your body’s weight.
What about when you leave the ICU?
When a patient spends a few days or even months in an intensive care unit, they receive physiotherapy to stimulate circulation and the muscles. However, this is no guarantee that they will not have severe physical deconditioning when they are discharged.
People who recover from Covid-19 in an ICU are an example of this: some cannot walk by themselves or stand up when they leave. Support is provided by a professional in order to begin treatment and an appropriate exercise routine.
650 Is the approximate number of muscles in the human body, divided into three types: skeletal, smooth and cardiac.
Proteins are responsible for providing your muscles with energy, strengthening them and maintaining their volume. For this reason, if the patient has already lost a significant amount of muscle mass, they should eat protein-rich food as part of every meal. Those people who lead an active lifestyle should balance their consumption according to the weight and energy needs of their body.
Elastic bands and weights can be used to carry out routines comprising strength and resistance exercises that involve all the muscle groups. Knowing your body, and how far you can push it, makes it easier for each individual to achieve their goals in the short and long term.