The other day I was talking to Victor, one of my coworkers. We were taking a break and watching ESPN. As they were showing some old baseball highlights, It prompted me to ask him what his favorite play in baseball was. He said “a diving catch in the outfield.” I will tell you my favorite baseball play at the end. Now I am a huge sports fan. I genuinely appreciate a person’s ability to control and move their body. But I am not just a sports fan, I really am a fan of motion. From watching a baby trying to crawl or seeing someone dance, or watching Usain Bolt set the world record in the men’s 100M Finals, motion is inspiring.

So as a quick review, the respiratory system gets oxygen into the body (and expels the exhaust fumes from the body) is priority; number one. Then, there is the cardiovascular system that gets oxygen via blood to all the cells in the body. (Previous articles are linked below). Keep reading to find out what is number three and number four on the priority list.

Moving a body can create any effect. The motion of a body is created really by two body  systems; the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system. The musculoskeletal system is the framework or underlying structure of the body. It consists of all the muscles, bones, joints, tendons and ligaments. Muscles contract to cause motion. An easy example of a muscle is your bicep. Go ahead and flex. Nice! A joint is the place where two or more bones meet. Your elbow is a good example of a joint. Ligaments are the strong fibrous connective tissues that hold joints together. The word ligament comes from Latin ligamentum ‘bond,’ from ligare ‘to bind.’ A tendon is the cord of strong flexible tissue that connects the muscle to the bone at the insertion. Muscles have an origin or place where they begin and an insertion or place where it attaches to a bone to create movement when the muscle contracts or shortens. There are over six hundred skeletal muscles in a human body. There are two hundred and six bones in a human body. There is obviously a lot more we could go over, but for simplicity we can think with these points. See the diagram below and read this paragraph again.

Now, the nervous system consists of the brain, spinal cord and nerves. The purpose of the nervous system is to coordinate the motion of the body and to help with awareness or perception of the motion of the body. The nervous system also aids in the perception (awareness) of motion or energy in your environment surrounding your body. The nervous system essentially consists of cells that combine to act like “wires” that send signals from the brain to the body to control the motion of the body and from the body back to the brain to help us perceive motion or energy from the environment. Anything that interferes with the ability of these signals to travel will impair a person’s motion and perceptions. Interference can be structural such as a pinched nerve or chemical such as alcohol or drugs or some medications.

These two systems, the musculoskeletal and nervous systems, are intimately connected. They are also what I consider number three and four on the hierarchy of body systems.

The ability of a person to move their body is an incredibly good indicator of their overall physical health. The more a person can purposefully control and move their body, the less likely they are to develop any chronic illnesses and the longer their life expectancy. The less a person can move their body the more likely they are to develop illness or injury and the shorter their life expectancy.

So, with regards to the musculoskeletal and nervous system, what are some basic things that a person can do to ensure their health is optimized? Not doing things that hurt or impair the nervous system such as using drugs or not getting sufficient sleep. Also maintaining an ideal body weight, keeping your body strong and flexible with regular exercise are extremely beneficial for a body. Anyone can do these things regardless of their age. If you need help with these things, ask.

And as for my favorite play in baseball, it is when an outfielder throws a runner out at home plate.

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