MadSci Network: General Biology

Re: Why doesn't our tongue muscle grow infinitely?

Date: Sat Jun 24 13:04:14 2000
Posted By: Will Higgs, Grad student, Zooarchaeology, University of York (from Oct 2000)
Area of science: General Biology
ID: 961715283.Gb


There are many muscles in our body that we use almost continuously - in 
our gut, our heart - etc.   Even when we are resting, all of 
our "ordinary" muscles - I mean those attached to our skeleton - 
have "tone", which means that they are working, producing tension to keep 
our body in position, and ready to move.  That is why a living person's 
(or animal's) flesh feels firm compared to a freshly dead one - but most 
people never get the chance to test this !

So, even though most muscles are doing something most of the time, they do 
not normally grow like a body-builder's.  Your muscles (and skeleton) 
continuously change in shape and size by very small amounts to keep pace 
with your lifestyle, but to make muscles grow unusually big, you need to 
take unusual exercise - like working out on special machines for long 
periods in a gym.  This is basically unnatural, and therefore bad.  
Unfortunately, these days, we are bombarded with images of immensely 
muscular men and painfully thin women, and must learn to see them as the 
freaks they are.

Talk away, Noam, and don't worry about your tongue - it has been very well 
designed !

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