The Act ofWalking
Walking is a process. It is a process, which involves a series ofcoordination among multiple antagonistic skeletal muscles, sensoryperception of nerves, and collecting auditory information aboutsurrounding environment. For instance, one’s posture has to bemaintained, leg muscles have to propel you forward, and the armsshould swing, while walking. However, all these processes have toinvolve sections of the body, for example, proprioceptors, theskeletal muscles (rectus femoris muscle), the brain center, andspinal cord (Silverthorn et al., 2009). Regarding control andmovement, the paper reflects on a student walking into the classroomand everything that involves proprioceptors, skeletal muscles, braincenter, and spinal cord.
Proprioceptors contribute to walking by giving information to thebrain center about the actual position of the limbs in space.Proprioceptors are identified as sensors, which gives the rightinformation about the muscle length, joint angle, and muscle tension.Example of a proprioceptor is the muscle spindle. When the braincenter is triggered before movement is initiated, information is sentto the spinal cord, which in turn generates spinal reflexes that aremediated between the local circuits (Silverthorn et al., 2009). Theonset of a student voluntarily walking to class first starts with theactivation of the spinal cord circuitry. The spinal cord in turntriggers the contraction of the skeletal muscles, in this case, therectus femoris. When rectus femoris contract, postural reflex of thebody occurs, and in turn raises one limb forward after the other.
Thebrain (primary motor cortex – M1) is also largely involved withwalking. For instance, before the student start walking towards theclassroom on a hot afternoon, impulses are generated by the primarymotor cortex in the brain center, and in turn control body movementexecution. Basal ganglia send signals, which transverse the bodymidline to the skeletal muscles for activation to engage pastoralmovements. Every body part is represented by the M1, and is arrangedin a somatotopical manner – the foot precedes the leg and is nextto the trunk, which is also next to the arms and the hands(Silverthorn et al., 2009). Of importance is the rectus femorismuscle. Rectus femoris muscle is a flexor of the thigh sector locatedat the hip. Its main function is to assist in extending or raisingthe knee and also flex the hip. During walking, M1 in the brain sendssignal, which transverse the body line to the rectus femoris muscle,and in turn extends the limbs and raise one knee after the other,thus facilitating movement.
The skeletal muscles (rectus femoris) via the peripheral nervesending with synapses motor axons are then distributed to appropriate.The limbs are then raised and extended one after the other tofacilitate movement. During movement, proprioceptors are specializedto detect changes in the environment. They have specialized sensoryreceptors found on nerve endings in muscles, for instance, rectusfemoris muscle, inner ear, and joints (Silverthorn et al., 2009).They are responsible for ensuring the sensory receptors relayimportant information about the person’s position or movement,which makes it easy to be aware of the body position and inclination.
Walking is an interdependency process joint receptors make part ofmuscle coordination reflex. Muscle spindles exert a finer motorcontrol in skeletal muscle, especially the rectus femoris, duringmovement (Silverthorn et al., 2009). During contraction of muscles,Golgi tendon organs are involved and are made up of free nerveendings for protective reflexes. Reflex movements, postural reflexes,and rhythmic movements, central pattern generators sends signals tothe intended muscle, physiological control centers focus on thesurrounding environment, cerebellum, basal ganglia, and voluntarymovements.
Silverthorn, D. U., Ober, W. C., Garrison, C. W., Silverthorn, A. C.,& Johnson, B. R. (2009). Human physiology: An integratedapproach. San Francisco, Calif: Pearson/Benjamin Cummings.