What Are the Characteristics of a Healthy Muscular System?

Synthia L. Rose

A healthy muscular system is characterized by the presence of intact and elastic muscle fibers that stretch without pain or strain as well as the presence of smooth tendons and uncompressed motor nerves woven throughout the muscle tissue. While these are internal signs of a healthy muscular system, fluid motion, proper balance and strength are outwardly observable characteristics of a person or creature with healthy muscles. People with healthy muscles remain self-sufficient and able to complete normal daily living tasks efficiently and without stress, fatigue or cramps.

Fruits and vegetables are part of a healthy diet that leads to a strong muscular system.
Fruits and vegetables are part of a healthy diet that leads to a strong muscular system.

Often, physicians recommend a nutrient-rich eating plan and a consistent regimen of physical activity to improve unhealthy muscles or maintain healthy ones. There are some cases, however, where healthy muscles are destroyed by age, injury or genetic disease. Hereditary diseases like myasthenia gravis and muscular dystrophy do not have cures and will render the muscles fragile and weak over time. Injuries like sprains, frayed tendons and sore or torn muscles that damage a healthy muscular system, however, may be remedied by rest, stretching and flexibility exercises such as Pilates.

The body has three types of muscles: smooth, skeletal and cardiac.
The body has three types of muscles: smooth, skeletal and cardiac.

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Eating healthy meals and increasing physical activity primarily help skeletal muscles that control movement. Smooth muscles that control the automatic function of internal organs are not generally responsive to diet and physical activity. Cardiac muscles of the heart, however, can become healthier through a diet that is reduced in sugar and fat as well as daily aerobic workouts that strengthen the myocardium so that the heart pumps blood more easily. Doctors consider a healthy diet to be more than simply low-sugar and low-fat foods. Vegetables, dairy products made with skim milk, whole grains and fruit are also part of a nutritional plan that can promote a healthy muscular system.

An illustration of the human muscular system.
An illustration of the human muscular system.

Since water is a major component of muscle tissue, drinking sufficient water to avoid dehydration is also beneficial. This amount varies with each person and depends on body weight. The typical recommendation for a healthy muscular system is 64 ounces (1.9 liters) of water a day.

A healthy cardiac muscle can depend on one's diet.
A healthy cardiac muscle can depend on one's diet.

Proper exercise regimens for healthy muscles begin and end with slow stretching and light movements. Immediately using muscles without warming them up can lead to cramping, torn muscle fibers and shortened muscles. These conditions can also occur when a person abruptly ends fast muscle activity without a gradual cooling down phase. Cramps, tears and shortened muscles can are unhealthy conditions that can reduce flexibility and coordination over time.

In addition to stretching to keep the muscles lithe, a combination of strength-bearing exercises to increase muscle mass and aerobic exercises to boost cardiac muscles is recommended by many medical professionals three to five days each week. Duration for the daily workouts can be as little as 20 minutes to as much as one hour. Experts caution against overworking the muscles, which can cause tears and muscle stress, negating efforts to create and maintain a healthy muscular system.

Strength-bearing exercises can increase muscle mass.
Strength-bearing exercises can increase muscle mass.

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Discussion Comments


I think how fast the muscles recuperate also says a lot about their health. I've always been someone that recuperates very fast after intensive workouts. We all experience some aches and pains when we start a new routine or push ourselves too far. But if it takes weeks to recover, then that's not good. Most people should recover after three or four days of rest.


@SarahGen-- Wow, I'm sorry to hear that. But yes, it does sound like you have weak muscles. Did you receive physical therapy?

The only way to prevent this sort of thing from happening again is to strengthen your back muscles. Your doctor must have taught you some back exercises you can do on your own. You must follow your doctor's directions. If you don't strengthen your muscles, they will continue to cause problems. Weak, unhealthy muscles don't hold up to even the most routine movements.


I don't have a healthy muscular system, at least not in my back. I had an awful back spasm almost a year ago and I still haven't completely recovered.

I was doing an exercise routine when it happened. The movements weren't very difficult or strenuous. And I did warm up beforehand. But somehow they were too much to handle for the muscles in my back. Right in the middle of the routine, I felt immense, sharp pain in my back. It was so painful that I literally fell down. I tried to get back up but couldn't. The spasm came in waves and I had never experienced so much pain before. I thought that I had lost a kidney or something.

The doctors suspected the same in the ER and ran some test to check my kidneys. It turned out they were fine. I was immediately given pain relievers and muscle relaxers. The spasm though, resulted in minor nerve damage and I still can't walk properly. I sometimes can't believe that this happened to me. I used to be so fit and healthy just a few years ago.

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