Study at Home - Foundation Diploma in Health Management
This course is an excellent first step toward working in the health services industry. The world is changing fast, and this is a rapidly changing industry. No one knows what the future holds but we do know there are untold opportunities. This is an excellent course to gain the broad based understanding of the industry, and human biology; which will always be needed as a foundation for further studies whether in traditional or non traditional health services; whether as a practitioner or support services.
Course Content and Structure
Note that each module in the Foundation Diploma in Health Management is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.
Muscle makes up about 40% of the human body weight, and most of that is skeletal muscle. The state and size of muscles depends largely on the demands placed upon them. If a person uses muscles often in exercise or activities, muscles develop and remain strong. If a person exercises only occasionally or minimally, muscles will weaken and shrink, and much of their bulk is converted to fat. Long bed rest or illness can cause muscles to atrophy, or waste away, making it difficult for the person to carry out even the most simple of activities, such as walking and standing.
Skeletal muscles contract when commanded to do by messages from the motor neurons of the nervous system. Heart muscles can also contract in response to nerve messages, but the heart also contracts without such stimulation. The source of energy for muscle contraction is ATP. During prolonged, moderate exercise, aerobic respiration activity provides most of the required ATP. For the first ten minutes, the muscles draws on its store of glycogen, then, for the next half hour, it draws on glucose and fatty acids in the blood stream. Longer activity involving muscle contraction draws mainly on the fatty acids.
When you exercise so hard that your body systems cannot deliver enough oxygen to the muscles for aerobic respiration, the body turns to anaerobic energy, which will contribute more of the ATP. Since the supply of ATP yielded in this way is small, muscle fatigue begins. In this case, the muscle can no longer contract because it simply does not receive the required oxygen. Instead, the muscles have created an oxygen debt by taking more ATP than the respiratory system can provide. The rising acidity in the muscle tissues resulting from lactic acid production (due to anaerobic energy utilisation also interferes with muscles’ ability to contract. The oxygen debt can be eliminated with deep, rapid breathing.
“Fast” and “slow” muscle
The body has two kinds of skeletal muscle, called ‘fast’ and ‘slow’ muscle, according to their ability to sustain contraction over a period of time. ‘Slow’ muscle has a many capillaries that deliver a constant flow of myoglobin-rich blood. Myoglobin is a red protein that binds oxygen, and gives slow muscles their red colour. ‘Slow’ muscle contracts slowly, but can contain the contraction for much longer, because they can generate higher levels of ATP. The muscles that allow you to stand for long periods, for example, are ‘slow’ contracting muscles.
‘Fast’ muscles are those that contract rapidly and strongly, but only for short periods. Sprinters rely of such muscle, that must be able to contract immediately, knowing that the duration of ‘fast’ muscle contraction is limited. ‘Fast’ muscles are lower in myoglobin (which means that they are less red in colour – like the white meat of poultry).
Training usually focuses on the development of both kinds of muscle, though one may receive greater attention, according to the nature of the activity that the person is training for. Sprinters must develop large, strong ‘fast’ muscles, which can be seen in their powerful thigh muscles. Weight lifter must develop large, powerful ‘slow’ muscles, seen in their rounded leg and shoulder muscles.
Exercise and Muscle
Aerobic exercise is by far the best way to develop muscle endurance. On the other hand, the ability to do aerobic exercise depends on the rate at which the body can supply oxygen to the muscles. Strength training, on the other hand, helps ‘fast’ muscle cells form chemicals that increase larger, stronger muscles (like those of a weight lifter), which, however, fatigue quickly.
Aerobic exercise, which can take many different forms, develops muscles in the following ways:
- it causes the number and size of the building blocks of ATP – called mitochondria – to increase;
- it causes an increase in the number of capillaries supplying blood to muscle tissue, which allows more blood supply to nourish the cells with oxygen and nutrients, and to remove wastes more efficiently;
- it increases the supply of oxygen-binding myoglobin in muscle tissues.
Overall, aerobic exercised ensure greater overall health and endurance by improving the body’s ability to circulate blood and oxygen, whereas strength training benefits the body by allowing it to maintain or improve muscle tone. A balance of both types of training will produce best results for general health.