Musculoskeletal System

Your body’s ability to move is provided by the musculoskeletal system, also known as the locomotor system. The musculoskeletal system is made up of muscles, bones and joints. Your body’s skeleton not only enables locomotion, it also supports and protects your internal organs. The bones of your musculoskeletal system are attached to other bones with joints, and your skeletal muscles are attached to the skeleton by tendons.

5 types of tissues make up the musculoskeletal system:
1. bones
2. ligaments (which attach bone to bone)
3. cartilage (protective gel lining the joints and the discs between your vertebrae)
4. skeletal muscles
5. Tendons (which attach muscle to bone)

Functions of the musculoskeletal system:

  • Protects the brain and internal organs
  • Supports the body, so you can maintain upright posture
  • Hematopoiesis, aka blood cell formation (which happens inside the bone marrow)
  • Mineral homeostasis, in other words, regulating the amount of minerals you have in your body
  • Storing fat and minerals in your body
  • Leverage – you can use the long bones of your body (your arms and legs) to provide leverage so you can magnify the force of your movement.


Movement in your body is generated by muscle contractions. These contractions are stimulated by the nervous system, which sends messages to your muscles from the brain. In the case of your skeletal muscles, these instructions are conscious, but for the smooth muscles surrounding your internal organs they are unconscious signals, sent by your autonomic nervous system. Cardiac muscle, the specialised muscle around your heart, never gets tired, but works continuously from when your body is still an embryo, contracting to squeeze blood out of the heart, and relaxing to let blood flow into the heart.