Physical Fitness and Well-Being Bones Part 1

About physical fitness, medical information, anatomy, well-being and care of your bones and skeleton.

TAKING A PHYSICAL--HEAD TO TOE

BONES

Every bone in your body is alive. Like every other organ in the human body, each bone has the ability to grow, develop, and repair itself.

The arrangement of bones in your body, the skeletal system, serves basically five functions:

1. It gives your body shape.

2. It provides places to attach such things as muscles, ligaments, tendons, and various tissues that line, hold, or are a part of other organs.

3. It acts as a protective enclosure for your heart, lungs, brain, etc.

4. It is a storehouse for calcium.

5. Within the bones, we manufacture blood cells.

What's in a bone? Twenty-five percent is water. Forty-five percent is mineral, mostly calcium. The other 30% is living tissue, blood vessels and cells.

If you remove the minerals from a bone by soaking it overnight in a 6% solution of hydrochloric acid, it will become so soft you can tie it in a knot.

Heating a bone removes its water and blood cells. This makes it brittle, though it retains its shape. What you have left is the strong, hardened calcium, which gives bone its strength.

Remember the story about Eve being made from Adam's rib? Medical science shows that one person in 20 has an extra rib. And the extra rib is three times more common in males. Is this, perhaps, how the Adam's rib story got started?

When you were born, you had more bones than you do now: 206 for adults, 300 for newborns. What happened to those other 94? They fused together. Want an example? The front part of your skull was in two parts at birth. This gave your skull a more malleable form while passing through the birth canal. By your second year, these bones had fused to become one.

Bone can adapt to changes in the environment. For example, teeth can be moved around in your mouth by an orthodontist because the bone in your jaw will adapt to accommodate these changes in position.

Bones tend to lose their ability to manufacture blood cells if you lead a very sedentary life. They also lose strength and mass.

On the other hand, with exercise bones increase both their blood cell manufacturing abilities and their mass.

Over 100 bones, or nearly half the bones in your body, are in your hands and feet.

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