Growing Muscles? Here is What Happens Inside Your Muscles

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Posted By : ScienceIndia Administrator

Many of us want to build muscles but only some of us put efforts into doing that. So, what do these some of us do for building muscles? These are the people who regularly exercise their muscles and over a period of time, we see that their muscles grow in size. Have you ever wondered what actually happened to the muscles? Why did it grow in size with regular exercise?

There is an old saying “No pain, No gain”. It goes true when you want to build muscles. We experience pain every time we exercise and damage our muscles. Our muscle tissue is basically composed of muscle fibers. These fibers are multinucleated cellular structures, which are formed by the fusion of a large number of cells. However, these fibers are not the only cellular structures in muscle tissue. Satellite cells are one more kind of cells that stick along the periphery of muscle fibers. These small satellite cells exhibit very slow metabolism, or in simpler words, they don’t eat or drink much and consequently, they don’t divide. These cells remain in the state of rest only until a damage happens to the muscles. Once the damage happens, these resting satellite cells get the message and in response to that they now become active.  These activated satellite cells now proliferate and give rise to a huge population of myoblast cells. When myoblast cells are enough in numbers they start fusing with one another and form new muscle fibers. However, some of these myoblast cells do not fuse and turn back to the resting stage (satellite cells) so that in future they can help in the rebuilding of the muscle, in case you are planning to do some heavy lifting next week.

This is how you build a little bit of muscle every time you exercise and if you are regular, you build a lot of it so that you can actually see a change in the size of your muscle over a period of time. But, does this process of building muscle happen only when you exercise? Interestingly, the answer is ‘No’. The process of damaging and building muscle is an ongoing process as we damage our muscle even when we walk or do household chores, and this damage needs to be repaired through the same process that repairs muscles after heavy exercise. However, when we exercise this process of repairing get boosted up in response to damage depending on the intensity of exercise.

Author:  Avinash Srivastava, PhD Student, CCMB, Hyderabad

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