Your Musculoskeletal System

Physical Strength is the state and quality of being able-bodied, having the aptitude to administer effective action. It is the power to resist attack, strain, and stress.

The Musculoskeletal System, also called the locomotor system, provides form, stability, and movement to the body. It is composed of bones, muscles, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, joints, and other connective tissues. Bones are connected by joints and strengthened by muscles, which facilitate motion when contracted.

Muscle Components

  • Bones - Aside from providing structural support for the entire body, bones are also responsible for storing minerals and lipids. 99% of the body's calcium and energy reserves (lipids) are saved in them. These reserves maintain normal concentration of calcium and phosphate ions in the body fluids. They also host the production of blood elements (red blood cells and white blood cells) of the body, protect soft tissues and organs (such as the heart, lungs, brain, and reproductive organs), and leverage movement by changing the magnitude and direction of the forces exerted by muscles.

  • Joints - Joints are points where bones interconnect. They operate within the lines of stability and range of motion.

  • Tendons - Tendons attach muscles to bones; they are essential for movement.

  • Ligaments - Ligaments attach bones to bones, building the framework and connectivity of your body.

  • Muscles - Muscles contract to pull on tendons and move the bones of the skeleton. Their main function is to produce force and cause motion. There are more than 600 muscles made of elastic tissue and small fibers in the body. Skeletal muscles maintain posture and body position, support soft tissues, guard entrances and exits to the digestive and urinary tracts, and maintain body temperature.

  • Nerves - Nerves control the contraction of skeletal muscles, interpret sensory information, and coordinate the activities of the body's organ systems.

  • Cartilage - Cartilage is a form of connective tissue. The three major types of cartilage are hyaline cartilage, which reduces friction during joint movement as in the tips of ribs and nasal septum; elastic cartilage, which supports and tolerates distortion without damage as in the external flap of the ear; and fibrocartilage, which resists compression and prevents bone-to-bone contact as in the knee joint and the spaces between the spinal vertebrae.

World Renowned Strength of the Sherpas

Mount Everest Route

Sherpas are highly regarded for their hardiness and expertise in high altitude mountaineering. They have been an integral part of Everest climbing expeditions. Researchers speculate that their climbing ability is due to genetic adaptation like unique hemoglobin-binding enzymes, doubled nitric oxide production, hearts that fully utilize glucose, and lungs with an increased sensitivity to oxygen which scarce at high altitudes. Living at high altitude fosters endurance. High-altitude living increases red-blood-cell concentrations, allowing more oxygen to reach the muscles during exercise, and also hikes the levels of an important chemical called 2.3-DPG (a highly anionic organic phosphate which is present in human red blood cells at about the same molar ratio as hemoglobin), which helps 'release' oxygen from red blood cells to the muscles during intense exercise.

Strength in Muscles
Muscles are fortified through proper metabolism. Metabolism is a set of chemical changes within the tissue of the body that facilitates growth, reproduction, function, and strength build-up. Anabolic metabolism promotes constructive transformation in your body such as growth of muscle tissue (mass) and increase in body size. Catabolic metabolism is the breakdown of complex substances into simpler ones; producing a significant amount of energy for your physical strength.

Muscles

Here are the following factors affecting the magnitude of your physical strength:

  • Type of Muscle Fibers - There are two basic types of muscle fibers. "Slow twitch" muscle fibers produce small levels of force for long periods of time and deliver endurance. They are best used for cardiovascular (aerobic) activities. On the other hand, "fast twitch" muscle fibers produce high levels of force for short periods of time and deliver power. They are best suited for weightlifting and anaerobic activities. Men and women have an equal combination of both slow twitch and fast twitch fibers; however, there are cases when some people inherit a high percentage of slow twitch fibers that enhance their performance in endurance activities. This is true for long distance runners. Marathon runners have a very high amount of slow twitch fibers. Adversely, football players have relatively faster twitch muscle fibers essential for them to execute quick high-energy moves. Both the slow twitch and fast twitch fiber types respond positively to strength training exercises but the fast twitch types experience greater increases in muscle size and strength in less time.

  • Limb and Muscle Length - Muscle length breeds differences in strength development. Those with relatively long muscles have greater potential for developing size and strength than persons with relatively short muscles.

  • Age - People of all ages can increase their muscle size and strength from an effective training program. The rate of strength and muscle gain is rapid during ages 10 to 20. After reaching normal physical maturity, muscular improvements usually slow down a little.

  • Gender - The muscles of men and women are of the same quality but different in terms of quantity. Men generally have more muscle tissue than women due to the male sex hormone (testosterone), which stimulates muscle size increase in men. The larger the muscles, the stronger the person. This explains the fact that men are stronger than women.

  • Genetics - Your genetic predisposition also influences your strength and muscle build up. But even when you are born with genetic inclination to being weak or overweight, your lifestyle and heath measures can change your state of fitness.

Muscle Disorders
Some conditions significantly weaken your Musculoskeletal System and reduce your physical strength
:

  • Myopathy - Myopathy refers to any type of damage to muscle. The most common forms of Myopathy are inherited myopathies, due to mutation of a gene on the X chromosome; mitochondrial myopathies, caused by damage to the mitochondria (energy-producing structures in cells that serve as power plants); and metabolic myopathies, brought about by disturbances in metabolism. In most cases of Myopathy, weakness is experienced in the muscles of the upper arms, shoulders, thighs, and pelvis. Muscles in the hands and feet may also become weak as the disease progresses. Aside from genetics, causes of myopathy include underlying autoimmune disorders (such as myasthenia gravis, scleroderma, and thyroiditis), endocrine diseases (such as Cushing syndrome, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, and Addison disease), infections (such as HIV, Lyme disease, and trichinosis), underlying metabolic disorders (such as glycogen and lipid storage diseases), exposure to toxins (such as herbicides, insecticides, and flame retardant chemicals), Vitamin D deficiency, Vitamin E or A toxicity, and medication intake (such as antihistamines, statins, and long-term corticosteroid use). Symptoms of Myopathy include skeletal muscle weakness, aching, cramping, pain, stiffness, tenderness, and tightness.

  • Fibromyalgia - Fibromyalgia, also known as Fibrositis, is a chronic condition characterized by pain, stiffness, and tenderness of the muscles, tendons, and joints. Its pain is widespread, involving both sides of the body. Fibromyalgia tender points (localized tender areas of the body that can bring on widespread pain and muscle spasm when touched) include the elbows, shoulders, knees, hips, back of the head, and the sides of the breastbone. Symptoms of Fibromyalgia include migraine and tension headaches, numbness in different parts of the body, abdominal pain related to irritable bowel syndrome ("spastic colon"), and painful and frequent urination. Cause of this disorder is still unknown, yet it has been associated with psychological distress, trauma, and infection. Noise, weather change, and emotional stress aggravate the pain in Fibromyalgia. Some studies are pointing to elevated levels of nerve chemical signals, elevated levels of nerve growth factors in the spinal fluid, and low levels of the brain chemical, seratonin, as causes of the disease. Fibromyalgia patients also have debilitated sleep phase of non-Rapid Eye Movement (non-REM). This has been believed to have direct influence with the fatigue experienced by the patients upon waking up. About 2% of the population of the United States, of which 80% are women, has Fibromyalgia. It can occur independently or along with other diseases such as systemic lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.

  • Dermatomyositis - Dermatomyositis is a chronic inflammatory disease of skin and muscle, associated with patches of slightly raised reddish or scaly rash usually on the bridge of the nose, around the eyes, or on sun-exposed areas of the neck and chest. The rash is accompanied or preceded by muscle weakness (especially muscles closest to the trunk of the body (proximal), which is the most common symptom. Other symptoms include fatigue, discomfort, weight-loss, low-grade fever, trouble with swallowing (dysphagia), muscle aches and tenderness, difficulty rising from a sitting position, climbing stairs, lifting objects, or reaching overhead. Distal muscles (those not close to the trunk of the body) may also be affected as the disease progresses.  Hardened bumps of calcium deposits under the skin may also develop. The cause of Dermatomyositis is not fully known but it is considered an autoimmune disease, when white blood cells instead of fighting bacteria and viruses begin to attack the body's own muscles. A person's genetic disposition along with a triggering environment factor like viral infection is a risk factor. Polymyositis and dermatomyositis can occur at any age but are most common in children and adults over age 50. Females are more often affected than males. One to five new cases per 100,000 people around the world are diagnosed each year.

  • Polymyositis - Polymyositis is a muscle disorder featuring inflammation of the muscle fibers. It is characterized by periods of increased symptoms, called flares or relapses, and minimal or no symptoms, known as remissions. Symptoms include joint pain and swelling, coughing and shortness of breath, and hardening of skin and muscles (calcification). The cause of the disease is not known. Yet, it has been attributed to dysfunction of the immune system when immune cells of inflammation invade muscles. The muscles usually affected are those closest to the trunk or torso. It also can affect other areas of the body and can result in severe muscle weakness. It is associated with cancer or with other diseases of connective tissue such as systemic lupus erythematosus, scleroderma, and rheumatoid arthritis. Polymyositis is slightly more common in females. It affects all age groups, although its onset is most common in middle childhood and in the 20s.

  • Muscle Spasm - Muscle spasm is characterized by an abrupt, short-lived, and severe pain, which may be relieved by gently stretching the muscle. Causes of muscle spasm include stress, anxiety, dehydration and electrolyte abnormalities. The main symptom of muscle spasm is the acute onset of pain as the muscle contracts and bulges underneath the skin. Smooth muscles that are within the walls of hollow organs in the body can also experience spasm such as pain associated with diarrhea, gallbladder pain, and kidney stone pain.

  • Dystonias - Dystonias is a special form of muscle spasm caused by an abnormality in the chemicals inside the brain. These are movement disorders in which sustained muscle contractions cause twisting and repetitive movements or abnormal postures. Examples of Dystonias are torticollis (a state of excessive or inadequate muscle tone in the neck that controls the position of the head) and blepharospasm (involuntary forcible closure of the eyelids). Symptoms include deterioration in handwriting, foot cramps, tendency of one foot to pull up after running or walking some distance, rapid blinking, tremor, and speech difficulties. Dystonic motions may lead to permanent physical deformities by causing tendons to shorten. Treatment may include medications to help restore the neurotransmitter levels to normal and Botox injections to paralyze the affected muscle and relieve the spasm.

  • Fatigue - Fatigue or tiredness is defined as lack of strength or a state of reduced capacity for work following a period of mental or physical activity. It can also be a symptom of many different diseases and conditions. Causes of fatigue include lack of sleep, excessive exercise, depression, stress, dehydration, jet lag, hormonal imbalance (menopause and thyroid diseases), infections, underlying diseases (such as cancer, lupus, tuberculosis, congestive heart failure), and  side effects of medical treatment (such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgeries, and prescription / non-prescription medications). The lack of energy associated with tiredness can interrupt daily activities and can lead to problems with memory and concentration.

Most Common Strength-Busters
The following are the most common factors that cause deterioration of your physical strength:

Aging

  • Aging - Aging has been associated with the loss of muscle mass, often referred to as Sarcopenia. This decrease in muscle tissue begins around the age of 30, yet is dramatically observed around the age of 50. This is due to the decrease in the production of anabolic hormones such as testosterone, growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor-1, which impairs the capacity of skeletal muscles to incorporate amino acids and synthesize proteins. In addition, an increase in the release of catabolic agents, specifically interleukin-6, intensifies the rate of muscle wasting among the elderly. Muscles become less dense, which makes the arms and legs look thinner, and muscle tissues become less flexible, which results in diminished muscle function. Even mild loss of muscle strength places increased stress on certain joints like the knees, thus raises your risks of arthritis or accidental falling. The types of muscle fibers are affected by aging as well. The number of muscle fibers that contract faster (fast twitch muscles) decrease much more than the number of muscle fibers that contract slower (slow twitch muscles). Thus, muscles are not able to contract as quickly in old age which affects even simple day-to-day activities.

  • Dehydration - Your body is 75% water. Water is found in your body's intracellular space (within the cells of your body), intravascular space (blood vessels), and interstitial space (spaces between cells).  Our bodies lose water in three ways: urinating and bowel movement, perspiring, and breathing. Dehydration takes place when the amount of water leaving the body is greater than the amount being taken in. It can be caused by diarrhea, vomiting, sweating, diabetes, and burns. There is electrolyte abnormality in dehydration when important chemicals like sodium and potassium are lost from the body. Abnormal electrolyte levels manifest muscle weakness due to low potassium, heart rhythm disturbances due to either low or high potassium, and seizures due to low sodium.

  • Alcohol Abuse - Unlike other food substance, alcohol does not undergo the normal digestive process. It is not converted and transported to cells and tissues; rather it is hauled directly to the bloodstream. About 20 percent of the alcohol is absorbed directly into the blood through the stomach walls and 80 percent is absorbed into the bloodstream through the small intestine. Alcohol reduces blood flow to the muscles, which leads to muscle weakness and deterioration. Muscle ache is a common symptom of excessive-drinking "hangovers".

  • Depression - Depression is an emotional disorder that manifests many physical symptoms. Due to the symptoms of depression such as fatigue, dizziness, and trouble sleeping, weakening of the body follows. About 65% of patients report their depression is accompanied by pains. These may include headaches, back pain, tender muscles, and sore joints.  

  • Hormonal Imbalance - The thyroid is the gland responsible for production of hormones. It controls your metabolism (the speed at which your body converts fuel into energy). A low thyroid level (hypothyroidism) can cause fatigue, muscle weakness, lethargy, weight gain, depression, memory problems, constipation, dry skin, intolerance to cold, coarse and thinning hair, brittle nails, or a yellowish tint to the skin. A high thyroid level (hyperthyroidism) can also cause fatigue, weight loss, increased heart rate, intolerance to heat, sweating, irritability, anxiety, muscle weakness, and thyroid enlargement.

  • Underlying Diseases - Atherosclerosis or narrowing of the arteries may lead to muscle spasm and cramps because adequate blood supply and nutrients are not able to be delivered to the appropriate muscle. Cancer, systemic lupus, rheumatoid arthritis,  AIDS, anemia, scleroderma are some illnesses that also manifest muscle weakness.

Western Medicine
Western Medicine relies on aggressive and costly prescription drugs to deal with musculoskeletal problems. These methods generally address only the symptoms and not the underlying causes. As soon as you stop using the drugs, the problem returns!  These prescription drugs often result in unwanted and even dangerous side effects including accelerated aging and increased risk of more serious diseases.

Prescription Drugs

The options for drug treatment are bewildering: Acetaminophen, Adapin, Ambien, Amitriptyline, Anafranil, Aventyl, Baclofen, Botulinum toxin type A, Carbamazepine, Cyclobenzaprine, Diazepam, Doxepin, Duloxetine, Elavil, Fluoxetine , Levodopa, Lorazepam, Lunesta, Lyrica, Marplan, Milnacipran , Monoamine oxidase inhibitors, Nardil, Norpramin, Pamelor, Parnate, Pertofrane, Pregabalin, Reserpine, Rozerem, Sinequan, Sonata, Surmontil, Tofranil, Tramadol, Tramadol, and Vivactil. Typically once drug treatment begins, it is recommended for life and usually involves a series of medications.

The combined COMMON side effects of these medications include abnormal skin sensations, severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue), anxiety, blurred vision, breast swelling, changes in sexual function, chills, constipation, dark urine or pale stools, diarrhea, dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, fatigue, forgetfulness, frequent urination, gas, headache, heavy feeling, hyperactivity, inability to urinate, increased sweating, lack of energy, lack of coordination, lightheadedness when rising from a seated or lying position, muscle jerks, nausea, nervousness, numbness or tingly feeling, sedation, sleep disturbance, sleeplessness, tremors, trouble concentrating, unusual fatigue, upset stomach, weakness, and weight loss or gain.

The combined SEVERE side effects of these medications include agitation, chest pain, cold, clammy skin, confusion, difficulty sleeping, easy bruising or bleeding, extreme thirst with headache, nausea, vomiting, and weakness, fainting, fast or irregular heartbeat, feelings of irritability or hostility, fever, hallucinations, impotence, impulsive behavior or other unusual change in behavior, mental or mood changes, nausea, neck stiffness, numbness of an arm or a leg, one-sided weakness,  panic attacks, pounding in the chest, restless muscle movements in your eyes, tongue, jaw, or neck, seizures, sensitivity to light, severe headache, severe high blood pressure, severe nervousness or anxiety, severe restlessness, speech or vision problems, suicidal thoughts or behaviors, sweating, tightness in the throat or chest, vomiting, widened pupils, worsening feelings of depression, and yellowing of the eyes or skin.

Ayurvedic Medicine

Yogi

Ayurveda, the science of life, prevention and longevity, is the oldest and most holistic and comprehensive medical system available.  Its fundamentals can be found in Hindu scriptures called the Vedas - the ancient Indian books of wisdom written over 5,000 years ago.  Ayurveda uses the inherent principles of nature to help maintain health in a person by keeping the individual's body, mind, and spirit in perfect equilibrium with nature.

India Herbs has a seasoned group of Ayurvedic doctors specialized in Vajikarana, one of the eight major specialties of Ayurveda.  Vajikarana is "a process or a drug, which makes a man physically as strong as an ox and able to undergo many hours of physical rigors during battle."  Vajikarana prescribes the therapeutic use of various herbal and holistic medicines to enhance your physiological capabilities and composition while strengthening the mind and overall well-being.  Sherpa Strength is a product of Vajikarana science.

India Herbs' Vajikarana doctors combine a proprietary herbal formula based on centuries' old wisdom with advice on diet, exercise, mental training, and relaxation to help you reach your peak and overcome health concerns through safe, natural means.

Recommendations
You can optimize your long-term musculoskeletal health by:

1) Reversing Damage - Years of stressful living cause damage to your body.  To help reverse this, Sherpa Strength releases hundreds of phytonutrients that increase your strength and energy, enhance your muscle mass, and help you maintain long-term fitness.

2) Getting Healthy Sleep - Sleep is probably the most important tool in building muscle mass. After a strenuous exercise, your muscles need recovery time. This takes place in your sleep. During sleep, growth hormones are produced and protein synthesis occurs to rebuild your broken down muscles. Without this, the time spent in work-out is put to waste. The REM (rapid eye movement), the deepest phase of sleep, is the stage where extensive repair is done to your body. During this stage, your muscles are in a paralytic state that allows optimal rejuvenation. 8 hours of sleep is recommended for both children and adult daily.

3) Increasing Protein Intake - The synthesis of muscle protein is essential to the body's ongoing growth, repair, and maintenance. The human body synthesizes protein from diet. Carbs serve mainly as energy for the body, while protein provides the necessary amino acids to build and repair muscle. For muscle growth, carbohydrates are not as essential as protein and fats. High quality protein, which the body breaks down into amino acids, should be the center point of all your meals. At least 1,000 milligrams of protein per pound of bodyweight is recommended daily. Protein-rich foods include soy milk, egg, lean meat, fish, tofu, grains, and other legumes.

4) Increasing Vitamin B12 Intake - Vitamin B12 is important for increasing energy as it stimulates production of red blood cells as well as processes carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. It aids the body in digestion and absorption of protein and carbs. Good sources of Vitamin B12 include meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk, and fortified cereals. At least 2.4 micrograms of Vitamin B12 is recommended daily.

5) Increasing Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) Intake - Dietary fats play an essential role in hormone production, which in turn is responsible for growth and strength increase. Fat is a concentrated source of energy. EFAs are unsaturated fats that are necessary for thousands of biological functions throughout the body. They aid in the prevention of muscle breakdown and help to increase your HDL level (good cholesterol). Sources of EFAs include fish, shellfish, soya oil, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, and leafy vegetables.

6) Increasing Water Intake - Water is a miracle supplement. To utilize optimal physical strength, take one 8 ounces glass of water for every 10 to 12.5 pounds of bodyweight per day. It will not only facilitate natural detoxification but will improve your bodybuilding training results. It will help your kidneys deal with the extra protein and circulate the nutrients throughout your body. Water is the transportation system that delivers great nutrition to the muscles.

7) Doing Compound Exercises - Compound exercises are those which stimulate more than one major muscle group at a time. They affect your entire skeletal system and trigger growth throughout the body. The following are recommended exercises effective for muscle growth and strength enhancement: Squats (Legs), Calf Raises (Lower legs), Bench Press (Chest), Pull Ups (Back), Bench Dips (Arms), Bicep Curls (Arms), Military Press (Shoulders), and Crunches (Abs). To ensure general fitness, Cardiovascular exercises may be incorporated to your exercise program. However, Strength training remains to be the key to muscle strength and balance. 

To have a well-structured exercise program, you can follow the FITT (Frequency, Intensity, Type, Time) Principle. The FITT Principle is applicable to individuals exercising at low to moderate training levels and may be used to establish guidelines for both cardiorespiratory and resistance training. Here's a recommended training combination:

Cardiovascular Exercise

  • Frequency - 3 to 5 times per week

  • Intensity - Moderate to moderately difficult activity

  • Time - 20 to 40 minutes per session

  • Type - Rhythmic, large-muscle-group activity that generates faster heartbeat, such as walking, jogging, jumping rope, swimming, and dancing

  • Benefits - Reduces body fat, lowers risks of heart diseases, increases HDL (High Density Lipoprotein) levels also known as the "good" cholesterol, decreases clinical symptoms of anxiety, tension, and depression, and enhances blood circulation and detoxification

Strength Training

  • Frequency - 2 to 3 times per week

  • Intensity - Load or weight = 60 to 75% of the maximum amount you can lift one time for a particular type exercise

  • Time - 1 to 3 sets (8 to 15 reps per set) each of 6 to 10 exercises involving all of the major muscle group areas: chest, back, shoulders, arms, low back, abdominals, hips/thighs, and calves

  • Type - Resistance exercise that works the major muscle groups, such as weight machines, free weights, exercises using tubing, or exercises using your own body weight for resistance, such as curl ups, pull ups, push ups, and squats

  • Benefits - Burns calories to help you keep your weight down, increases bone density which lowers your risk of Osteoporosis and broken bones, strengthens muscles which improves your balance, and reduces your chances of joint injuries

8) Breathing Properly - Slow, deep breathing is a powerful anti-stress technique. When you bring air down into the lower portion of the lungs, where the oxygen exchange is most efficient, heart rate slows, blood pressure decreases, muscles relax, anxiety eases and the mind calms. Breath control can also help your exercises become more rhythmic and regular.

Results: The precise combination of ingredients in Sherpa Strength along with a mind-body focus precisely addresses your muscle and strength concerns!

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