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How is tearing mucles apart healthy?

  1. Sep 1, 2007 #1
    I just found out that mucles get stronger by tearing them apart. If thats true then working out shouldn't be good for our health. Its like saying, hey, go there and get beaten up by that, its good for your health.

    The only I can think of as a positive result is a healthier heart. But for that, I don't even need to work out, just by watching a lot of scary movies will do it.

  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 1, 2007 #2

    jim mcnamara

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    Exercise physiology is very complex. And muscles are not 'torn' during exercise, at least not literally.

    When muscle tissue is worked to about 80% exhaustion - from weight lifting which is where you seem to be thinking - some muscle fibers do get damage from being overworked.

    The repair process for this is actually good for you. For example the repair process lowers blood levels of bad kinds of fats (LDL) significantly, and it causes a wierd thing. It burns extra calories and protein as well for the next day or two. Kinda like taking a walk around the block while you're not really exercising.

    If you do choose exercise like that - and you should not do this without a doctor's consent - your body muscle mass will increase. Up to a reasonable point this is very good as most Westerners tend to be um, under-exercised. There is no good reason to get gigantic muscles. ...That I'm aware of, other than for men to have a beach body, I guess. Women do not develop like men. Steroids excepted.
  4. Sep 1, 2007 #3


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    I've heard of splitting fibers and building them back up, but tearing fibers is an injury and is detrimental to strengthing. I suspect scar tissue develops which undermines the performance of muscle.

    I have torn muscle (which at the time sounded like tearing fabric and was accompanied by searing pain). It was not fun, and took weeks to heal.

    Heart (cardiac) muscle is different form skeletal muscle

    To strengthen the heart requires some exercise to get pulse rate increased in conjunction with deeper and more frequent breathing. Walking at a more than casual pace for at least 20 minutes is sufficient to improve the cardiac efficiency. Periodic running is good too.
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2007
  5. Sep 1, 2007 #4


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    Putting things under stress often promotes new growth - in individual plant roots/foliage, animal/muscles, but also more abstract entities such as species populations, immune systems, etc.

    Keep in mind, while you might think that subjecting your body to damaging stresses seems bad in principle, not subjecting it to stresses is bad too - it leads to atrophy and feebleness - again, in plants, animals, species populations, immune systems etc.

    A happy medium is usually the ansewer when it comes to life.
  6. Sep 1, 2007 #5
    There is good stress and bad stress. Watching scary movies is bad stress for your heart and will weaken it as will anything (like drugs) that artificially raises your heart rate excessively. Running and long walks, are natural cardio-vascular and cardio-pulmunary stresses, that strengthen your heart.

  7. Sep 1, 2007 #6
    Ok, so I will rephrase my question, how is splitting fiber is good for our body?
  8. Sep 2, 2007 #7
    Call it splitting, call it tearing, whatever. Your body responds to stress by adapting to the stresses. If the stress is physical then the body responds by strengthening itself to be better prepared the next time around.
    A stronger body usually equates to a healthier, longer lasting body.

    Machines cannot adapt and therefore wear out and fail.
  9. Sep 2, 2007 #8


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    As jmnew51 points out, you want to prepare your body for what it's going to experience in real life - you want it to be resilient.

    Think of splitting muscles like a vaccine. Getting a flu shot actually infects you with a virus (sort of), it is healthy because it causes your body to be prepared when this happens in real life, by a real virus.

    The ultimate goal here is "living your life". But living your life is, in the sense of keeping your body from harm, not healthy. Living your life will subject your body to insults and abuses. To avoid this is to waste your life in a sterile plastic bubble. So we subject our body to small, controlled abuses - to strengthen it.
  10. Sep 2, 2007 #9
    So lets assume, if I were never to get to viruses/bacteria/hurt. Would my life be longer if I didn't work out at all?(does walking by your house also splits the fibers?)
  11. Sep 2, 2007 #10


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    One does not have to be strong or have great strength to live longer. My paternal grandfather was of a slight build, not particularly strong, and he lived to be 103. He was relatively lean, avoided alcoholic drink, ate more vegatables than meat, and ate very little red meat (beef), which may have been more the case in later life than early.

    He did walk a lot, did some gardening, and remained active, but his activities were moderate and not heavy.

    I am not sure if 'splitting fibers' is correct, or perhaps they divide, but certainly lifting heavy weights promotes muscle growth in conjunction with the hormone testosterone. Using muscles keeps them fit, and usually good fitness contributes to a long healthy life. Larger muscles enable one to lift more weight or exert more force. But notice that rock climbers are quite lean, so they maintain a low mass and therefore have a high strength to mass/weight ratio as opposed to being bulky.

    Diet and genetics are certainly other key factors. Some persons, like my father, are predisposed to colon cancer. He just recently had surgery to remove a tumor, and had subsequent chemotherapy to mitigate micrometastisis. Had he had a check up several years ago, the polyp could have been removed before it developed into a tumor. Also, it's possible that a different diet (higher in fiber and berries, e.g. strawberries and blackberries, and lower in fat) might have helped mitigate the onset of polyps/tumors.

    Exercise is also a good way to relieve stress, and some studies have shown that exercise can improve one's immune system. Exercise is also necessary for good cardiac efficiency.

    http://www.clevelandclinic.org/health/health-info/docs/0900/0955.asp?index=5429 [Broken]



    If articles sound similar, they may be one source using another or multiple sources using the same original source.

    However, in my own case, I need a certain amount of exercise, and occassionally I need to do some heavy or exertive exercise to feel right. For me, it's the equivalent of blowing carbon out of the cylinders in an IC. :biggrin: I walk at least 2-3 miles everyday, and that's down and up a hill with a rise of about 300 feet elevation in about 8000 ft of distance.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  12. Sep 2, 2007 #11
    Thx a bunch guys.
  13. Sep 3, 2007 #12


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    I can't recall the details right now, but SciAm had an article about muscle growth sometime in the past couple of years. Every muscle has a reserve of 'proto-muscle' (my term) surrounding it. When fibres are torn (not the whole muscle as in Astro's case) during excersize, the muscle as a whole absorbs some of the those building blocks from its environment to build replacement fibres. It invariably absorbs more than is needed. As a made-up ratio for the sake of example, fifty torn fibres will result in fifty-three replacements. In that regard, the tearing is a good thing.
  14. Sep 3, 2007 #13


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    I didn't tear the whole muscle fortunately, but it was about 20% of my right bicep (arm). It heeled after several weeks, and I had to avoid using it for several days, which was difficult.

    I also pulled my right hamstrings and that took about two months to heal.

    Muscles need conditioning maintained by regular use and stretching. Strength training is also a good idea.

    See - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muscle#Exercise

  15. Sep 3, 2007 #14


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    As opposed to your bicep (ass), which you didn't damage? :tongue:

    Sorry, man...I know that clarification is the right way to do things here, but I couldn't just leave that lying there.
  16. Sep 3, 2007 #15
    I don't get this, kids visit this forum and after that, there are people's name which has cuss word in it and people feel freely to use it among the forum too!
  17. Sep 3, 2007 #16
    haha it is the reason they are called KIDS!
  18. Sep 4, 2007 #17


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    PF has a built-in censor programme. A word that is considered unacceptable is converted to *** before appearing in a post. Pretty much, it seems that anything you can hear on prime-time public broadcasting is okay.
  19. Sep 4, 2007 #18


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    Huh, well that nasty pr0n spam I flagged yesterday sure slipped under the radar...
  20. Sep 5, 2007 #19
    Nice! Here comes the cusser then....lol
  21. Sep 5, 2007 #20


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    Yeah, I caught that too. Maybe Greg should upgrade the dictionary.
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