How Do We Move?

What are you currently engaged in? It’s likely that you’re sitting in front of a computer and reading the Wonder of the Day. Are we correct? Wow! We have good guessing skills, don’t we?

Once you finish reading this specific paragraph, we kindly ask you to do a favor for us. Stand up and move around for a few seconds. If you’re at school, you can stretch or walk around your desk. If you’re at home, you can go outside or wander around the house. Alright…on your mark…get set…go!

Now that you’re back, you’re probably wondering why we had you move around for a bit. We requested that you move around so that you would have an immediate point of reference for today’s discussion about movement!

When you got up to move, did it require much thought? Did you have to mentally command your body to move? Or did you simply get up and move without really contemplating how you’re able to move? Isn’t the human body incredible? You just performed a series of complex, coordinated movements and you probably didn’t have to consciously think about it. When you think about it, that’s an amazing accomplishment.

So how is it possible for us to move so freely and effortlessly without a conscious, concentrated effort? Your brain works together with your muscles, which in turn work with your skeletal bones to produce a wide range of movements.

Any kind of movement begins with a need or desire to move. That need or desire may be conscious if you’re intentionally thinking about moving, but most of the time it doesn’t even register in our conscious minds. Instead, the brain simply takes control, plans, and initiates the movement.

The brain sends signals through the nervous system, including the spinal cord and nerves, to the muscles. The muscles then contract in order to create movement. Your muscles collaborate with tendons and joints, which assist your muscles in moving your skeletal bones to accomplish movement.

While the movement is occurring, various receptors in our skin, muscles, and bones provide feedback regarding the speed, direction, and force of the movement. All of this sensory feedback is transmitted through nerves and the spinal cord back to the brain, allowing the brain to adjust the movement accordingly.

Is something obstructing your way? The brain can direct your movement around the object. Did you step on something sharp? The brain can halt the movement so that you can attend to your aching foot.

All of this happens instantaneously with little or no conscious thought. Despite requiring little conscious thought, the muscles you control when you move are referred to as voluntary muscles, as you can control them when you think about moving.

Many of the muscles in your body are known as involuntary muscles, as they work without any conscious thought from you. For example, your heart and lung muscles are mostly involuntary. That’s a good thing! Can you imagine the effort it would take if you had to constantly think about making your heart beat and your lungs breathe?

Try It Out

It’s time to get moving! Explore the following activities with a friend or family member:

Get Moving and Learn About Your Muscles!

  • Why wait? It’s time to get up and be active! Take a walk or, if you’re feeling energetic, go for a jog or run. While you’re moving, take a moment to appreciate all the different parts of your body that are in motion. Imagine the intricate muscle movements happening beneath your skin, propelling your skeletal bones and helping you move forward. Isn’t the human body an amazing machine?
  • If you’re interested in learning more about the muscles beneath your skin, you can go online and explore the Human Body Muscle Diagram. Challenge yourself to memorize the names of the muscles in your legs and arms. Move a specific part of your body and then refer to the chart to identify which muscles were likely involved in that movement.
  • If you’re still struggling to understand how your muscles work together to move your body, there’s a helpful Muscular System video available online. It provides further insight into the topic. Additionally, consider what you can do to keep your muscles in good shape, ensuring that you can move freely for years to come.

Wonder Sources


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