Spotlight On: The Muscular System

Many of us only think about our muscles when they are sore from being a “weekend warrior” or shoveling out after a snowstorm. However, without skeletal muscles we would not be able to breathe, stand upright, walk or run. The fact that our muscles make up between 40 and 50 percent of our body mass … Continue reading Spotlight On: The Muscular System

Did You Know?: A Muscle May Increase Pneumonia in Older People

By the year 2030, an estimated 70 million people in the U.S.—about 20 percent of the total population—will be older than 65. Going forward, this number is only expected to rise due to a combination of declining birth rates and increased life expectancy. A well-known witticism is “Age is an issue of mind over matter. … Continue reading Did You Know?: A Muscle May Increase Pneumonia in Older People

Why Does Muscle Matter?

When young people think about their muscles, they often focus on enhancing their muscle size and strength for cosmetic or athletic reasons. Those older than 50, however, need to be more concerned with just keeping the muscle they have. On average, people over the age of 50 lose 1 to 2 percent of their muscle … Continue reading Why Does Muscle Matter?

Taking Ibuprofen during Exercise May Cause More Harm than Good

Every January gym memberships spike and the wait to get on the treadmill gets longer. This happens because about 40 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, the most common of which are exercising more and improving fitness. Some people may believe in the concept of “no pain no gain,” but it’s a common misconception … Continue reading Taking Ibuprofen during Exercise May Cause More Harm than Good

2017’s 10 Most-read Posts

Another physiology-filled year on the I Spy Physiology blog is almost over. This year, we’ve explored dozens of topics, ranging from skin cancer, gut health and spinal cord injury to the mystery of how hibernating animals’ muscles remain strong. We’ve celebrated women in science and smiled at the thought of turkeys running on treadmills. Today, … Continue reading 2017’s 10 Most-read Posts

Muscle Rebuilding on the Colorado Trail

“That day, for no particular reason, I decided to go for a little run. … For no particular reason I just kept on going. I ran clear to the ocean. And when I got there, I figured, since I’d gone this far, I might as well turn around, just keep on going.” - Forrest Gump … Continue reading Muscle Rebuilding on the Colorado Trail

Spinal Cord Injury: Let’s Clear the Air(ways)

The spinal cord is the information processing highway in animals (including humans) that have a backbone. In humans, the spinal cord contains nerve cells called motor neurons that control movement in the muscle fibers of the body, similar to the way a puppeteer controls the movements of a puppet. About 17,000 people in the U.S. … Continue reading Spinal Cord Injury: Let’s Clear the Air(ways)

What Animals Can Teach Humans about Muscle Maintenance

We all know the saying “use it or lose it.” Your muscles and nerves are no exception. When people are not active, whether it’s because of bed rest, spinal cord and nerve injury, or other reasons, two big problems arise. First, the muscles shrink by losing protein (a state called atrophy). Second, nerve cells have … Continue reading What Animals Can Teach Humans about Muscle Maintenance

Can Exercising in Low-Oxygen Conditions Help Breast Cancer Survivors?

Physical activity has been linked to a lower risk of developing several types of cancer, including breast cancer. Walking a few hours a week may even decrease the risk of a breast cancer recurrence as well as dying from the disease. The American Cancer Society currently recommends that people recovering from cancer should exercise at … Continue reading Can Exercising in Low-Oxygen Conditions Help Breast Cancer Survivors?

Not Horsing Around: Therapeutic Effects of Horseback Riding

Choosing your favorite part of a trip can be a difficult decision for travelers. I had countless unforgettable and unique experiences during a recent four-week trip to Chile. One excursion that stands above the rest was a weekend trip to San Pedro de Atacama in Northern Chile. I was studying with a group of students … Continue reading Not Horsing Around: Therapeutic Effects of Horseback Riding