Gaining muscle mass can help you live longer, making it superior to running for hours to stay fit. Read this post till the end to learn more!
The older you get, the more you realize the benefits of fitness. The goals quickly shift from an apparently fit body to an internally strong body that provides more balance and mobility without making you tired and getting hurt. As people age, they think that they can achieve this goal and enhance their lifespan (1) by incorporating running into their fitness regime. But the reality is the opposite, as recent studies say that you live longer when you have more muscle mass.
Continue reading to know how building more muscles can help you live longer!
How Building More Muscles Can Help You Live Longer?
A study (2) was recently published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research that the older adults with more muscle mass are likely to live longer than less muscle mass in their legs and arms. With increasing age, muscle mass declines, and this process is known as sarcopenia (3). It can be prevented and is considered one of the primary reasons older adults have a higher risk of losing mobility and body functions and suffer increased dependence. This new study says that sarcopenia can lead to early death (4).
The study revolved around a group of 839 women and men having age of 65, and the period for the study was 4 years. In this duration, researchers observed the body composition along with bone density. The muscles that were particularly looked at during the study were "appendicular muscle mass," including arms and legs, visceral fat, and subcutaneous fat.
Results of this detailed study published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research found that the mortality rate was 63 times more in women with low appendicular mass than those with more leg and arm muscle mass. The chances of early mortality were 11 times more in men having low appendicular mass. One of the leading researchers of the study Rosa Maria Rodrigues Pereira, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Sao Paulo’s Medical School in Brazil, said:
“The appendicular lean mass was the key factor, as opposed to the fat types.”
In contrast to this recent study, the previous studies claim a connection between visceral fat (5), especially around the midsection, and early mortality. This becomes especially true if a person suffers from both sarcopenia and osteoporosis. Rosa Maria conducted another study with fellow researchers in 2016 (6), which showed that low bone mineral density was associated with early death in older adults in Brazil. She said;
"Muscle mass plays a key role in stabilization for hips and shoulders. When you lose that stability, and there's a fall, low bone mineral density means you're at higher risk of a fracture. And we know from past research that an injury like a broken hip can significantly increase early mortality risk."
It was observed that the study participants who died during the study had some things in common in addition to the low appendicular mass. They didn't do exercise as often as other participants and had suffered many chronic health problems such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. People with more abdominal fat also had more mortality rate.
The study also observed significant differences between men and women, affecting the mortality rate. Pereira said that women undergo many hormonal changes, for example, during menopause (7), which can increase the mortality rate compared to men. With increasing age, estrogen levels fall in women, which leads to lower muscle mass, bone density, and more belly fat. Hence, the mortality rate of women with lower muscle mass is more than men.
But these studies also shared a moment of relief that sarcopenia isn't inevitable. You can slow down the process and even reverse it if you exercise regularly, especially resistance training. The chances of reversing this natural aging process are higher if you start to exercise early. A study found that older adults, age above 60 (8), need to do more weight lifting exercises than younger adults to retain muscle size and muscle mass.
Does Cardio Help Increase Your Lifespan?
Some people don't include cardio in their weight training program because they think it doesn't help build muscle mass. They believe that cardio can decrease their ability to gain muscle mass and the rate of muscle gain, but it’s not true. Cardio is a high-intensity exercise, if done correctly, and like any other high-intensity exercise, it will help you gain muscle mass quickly. When your muscle mass improves, your lifespan is increased. Hence, cardio helps increase your lifespan.
We always recommend to do cardio sets for example:
18/12 cals ROW
18/12 cals AB
18/12 cals Skierg/bikerg
Scale the calories as desired, based on your skills, you should finish your calories within 30-50 secs in the minute.
Everyone wants to live a long and healthy life, and recent studies have confirmed that building more muscles can help you live longer. It's especially helpful for older adults but gives better results if you start building muscles at a young age. So, the next time you set up your lifestyle goals to live longer, include building muscles too in them!