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The Nervous System: The Basic Structure. 6-1. From “Running and ME: A Love Story” by Joan Nesbit, 1999.

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from running and me a love story by joan nesbit 1999
From “Running and ME: A Love Story” by Joan Nesbit, 1999

It’s almost like running is this great friend we both share…Anyway, that’s what I’d like to talk to you about…running as a friend, a companion, a lover even…in other words, the relationship of running. “WHAT!?” many of you will be saying, “I thought that I was going to learn how to improve my 10k time.” Go read Runner’s World for that. You see, I don’t view running as what I DO or who I AM, but as this thing, this force, that changes me over time….

the nervous system
The Nervous System
  • Controls:
    • emotions
    • movements
    • thinking
    • behavior
the nervous system1
The Nervous System
  • Parts:
    • central nervous system (CNS)
      • brain & spinal cord
    • peripheral nervous system (PNS)
      • Smaller parts/branches of the nerves that go to the parts of the body
nervous system protection
Nervous System Protection
  • All parts have protection
  • long, thin cells of nerve tissue on which messages travel to and from the brain
parts of a neuron
Parts of a Neuron
  • Cell body
    • Has the nucleus
    • Produces energy needed for the neuron to work
  • Dendrites
    • Short, thin fibers that stick out from the cell
    • Receive impulses, or messages, from other neurons and send them to the cell body
  • Axon
    • Can be very short, or several feet long
    • Long fiber that carries the impulses away from the cell body to the dendrites of another neuron
neuron parts cont
Neuron Parts cont…
  • Myelin sheath
    • Insulates and protects the axon for some neurons
    • Speeds the transmission of impulses
  • Axon terminals
    • Branch out at the end of the axon


Axon terminals

Cell body


Myelin sheath


neuron connection
Neuron Connection
  • Synapse
    • The gap that happens between individual nerve cells
  • Impulses/messages are transmitted across the synapse to another neuron
  • Neurotransmitters
    • The chemicals released by neurons
    • Determines the rate at which other neurons fire
  • Excite – make the neuron transmit
  • Inhibit – make the neuron stop transmitting
neuron activity
Neuron Activity
  • Neurons are either ON or OFF
  • Neuron tracks:
    • Ascending – go up
      • Carry messages to the brain
    • Descending – go down
      • Carry messages from the brain to the body
types of neurons
Types of Neurons
  • Afferent neurons
    • Sensory neurons
    • Send messages from the organs (including eye, nose, ear, skin)
  • Efferent neurons
    • Motor neurons
    • Send signals from the brain to the glands and muscles
  • Interneurons
    • Carry impulses between neurons in the body
types of activities
Types of Activities
  • Voluntary
    • Lifting your hand
    • Running
    • Turning your head
  • Involuntary
    • Heartbeat
    • Blood pressure
    • Size of the pupils
what systems control what
What systems control what?
  • Somatic Nervous System (SNS)
    • Part of peripheral nervous system
    • Controls voluntary actions
  • Autonomic Nervous System (ANS)
    • Controls involuntary actions
autonomic nervous system ans
Autonomic Nervous System (ANS)


  • Sympathetic
    • Prepares the body to deal with emergencies or hard labor
    • Speeds up the heart to get oxygen and other nutrients to the body
    • Controls how much blood goes to different parts of the body
    • Increases blood pressure
    • Suspends/stops some activities (ex: digestion)
  • Parasympathetic
    • Saves energy
    • Helps the body recover from hard work
    • Reduces the heart rate & blood pressure