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Why is the soleus, the muscle they call the “second heart” so important?

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Why is the soleus, the muscle they call the “second heart” so important?

The Soleus: The Essential Muscle for Standing and Walking

The soleus muscle, located in the lower part of the calf, is often overlooked by many people. However, this small but important muscle plays a crucial role in our ability to stand and walk. In fact, some have even referred to it as the “second heart” due to its impact on blood circulation.

Dr. Carles Pedret, a specialist at the School of Sports Medicine at the University of Barcelona, highlights the unique composition of the soleus. Unlike other muscles, the soleus contains a large amount of pure muscle tissue with fewer connective tissues. This composition enables the soleus to efficiently generate energy and support the body’s structure.

The soleus is primarily made up of slow-twitch fibers, which provide endurance and stability for activities like standing and walking. Dr. Marc Hamilton from the University of Houston explains that the soleus is essential for any activity done in an upright position. Its ability to contract and relax slowly allows it to sustain long periods of physical activity without fatigue.

Additionally, the soleus functions as a pumping system to assist the heart in circulating blood throughout the body. When the muscle contracts, it compresses the veins inside, facilitating the return of blood to the heart. This unique function, known as the popliteal pump, helps prevent blood pooling in the lower extremities.

To maintain the health and functionality of the soleus, consistent and moderate exercise is key. Dr. Pedret emphasizes the importance of regular activity, such as walking, to keep the muscle in optimal condition. Both sedentary behavior and excessive strain can negatively impact the soleus, so finding a balance is essential for overall muscle health.

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In conclusion, the soleus muscle may be small in size but plays a significant role in supporting our daily movements and overall well-being. By understanding its functions and taking care to maintain its health, we can ensure a strong foundation for physical activity and overall health.

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