Yesterday, in fact, was so nice that I decided to try jogging again. I must emphasize the word "try." I barely made it a mile. Today, despite my best attempts at stretching, my muscles are sorer than Apollo Creed at the end of Rocky.
|Yep. Even sorer than that.|
How Do Muscles Work?
The easiest way to describe a muscle is to say that it's like a rubber band - muscles stretch or shrink much like elastic. Your bicep, for instance, is actually made of thousands of these elastic bands all working together. When you flex, your nerves send an electrical signal to the muscles to contract or tighten up. This is like pulling on a rubber band - it takes energy to do, and it stresses the muscle. When you release your muscle, the electrical signal stops and the muscle relaxes and expands. This is like letting go of the rubber band, only in this case, your muscle doesn't fly away and hit somebody in the eye.
|The TSA should totally check for rubberbands, too...|
|Did I lose you? Sorry about that.|
How Do Muscles Get Stronger?
Like I mentioned above, working out causes your muscles to rip and tear. If they're working without adequate oxygen (which happens often during intense workouts) they also produce lactic acid which sits on the muscles and eats away at them. Combine this with the damage caused by leaking calcium and it almost seems like working out is more dangerous for your body than it is beneficial.
But here's the cool part: your muscles only get stronger by being broken down. Once your body recognizes that your muscles have been damaged, it immediately works to repair the broken tissue, making it better. Your body will also synthesize new muscle fibers in the area to make sure that you'll be able to handle that kind of stress in the future. This is why weightlifters must gradually increase the weight they lift - your body is constantly trying to catch up, or adapt, to the work you're making it do. Want bigger muscles? Teach your body to lift gradually heavier weights.
Side note: the background music of this video is intense. I bet it could make anything seem hardcore. To test this, I'll find a way to play it while I'm grocery shopping someday.
Want to Know More?
If you're interested in learning more, check out this link about common mistakes many people make when trying to build muscle. Or, check out this link if you're interested in starting a new strengthening regimen.
Also, in case my explanations were a bit too dry or boring, feel free to watch this video which goes into greater depth about the anatomy of muscles: