More Muscle Lowers Your Risk of Death

Research suggests muscle mass may be linked to longevity


by: Jim Evans, VERDURE General Manager

Nobody is saying you have to look like a bodybuilder, but the more muscle mass you have as you grow older, the less likely you are to die prematurely according to researchers at UCLA – and it can significantly improve your quality of life too.

Americans have been hung up on cardio workouts for decades and, let’s face it, you always feel invigorated after working up a good sweat on the treadmill or elliptical or even a simple walk around the block. But resistance training to build and strengthen the muscles is even more important than cardiovascular endurance as you grow older. After all, what is the likelihood that you are going to have to outrun a tornado or be chased by a bear (as if we could actually win either race anyway)? Your quality of life becomes measured more by your ability (or inability) to get in and out of a chair (or off the toilet, as the case might be), to open a jar of pickles, to bend over and pick up your grandchild, and to do things around the house without assistance – and, to know that you still can when you have to.

It might also reduce your risk of dying prematurely.
Published by the American Journal of Medicine and based on research at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine using data collected by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) III from thousands of older adults who were 55 or older, researchers found that the more muscle mass older Americans have, the less likely they are to die prematurely. Period.

“In other words, the greater your muscle mass, the lower your risk of death,” said Dr. Arun Karlamangla, an associate professor in the geriatrics division at the Geffen School and the study’s co-author. “Thus, rather than worrying about weight or body mass index, we should be trying to maximize and maintain muscle mass.”

Strong muscles don’t have to necessarily be big muscles, but they won’t get strong without a little work, and it will be worth it.

Jim Evans is a 49-year veteran of the health and fitness industry and internationally-recognized fitness consultant.

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