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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.