What’s now realized is that the more muscle mass that we have on our bodies as we age, is considered one of the keys which can contribute towards living a longer life. What these studies proves is the exact type and composition that our bodies should consist of.
The overall body composition of muscle mass and its ratio to fat is thought to be a much better indicator of our longevity than Body Mass Index or BMI. BMI is a simple measurement of our height and its ratio to our weight, which can at times become misleading.
What total body mass indicates is how much muscle we have compared to how much fat, which is known to have varying metabolic effects. There are numerous studies which supports that having more muscle plays a significant role in our longevity as humans.
So for older individuals, what’s known is that building muscle mass becomes vitally important as it plays a key expression in decreasing certain metabolic risks, such as diabetes and obesity.
Why Body Mass Index BMI Is Misleading
There’s no one set accurate method of measuring body composition, as there’s been several studies which have attempted to address it by using various measurement techniques, which have all generally obtained different results.
The various studies based on obesity and the impact which they had on mortality remains the focus of BMI. One study concluded that dietitians needs to focus on better ways of improving body composition in the elderly, rather than relying just on BMI alone, this when it comes to addressing preventative health disorders.
A Study Of Muscle Mass
The study focused on a group of over 4000 male and female individuals who were 65 or older. What was observed over an extended period of time was how many individuals passed away because of natural causes.
What was also studied was their body composition, how much muscle they had compared to fat, this by using a testing method which is known as bioelectrical impedance, which involves running electrical currents through the body.
What more muscle mass allows for is the electrical currents to pass more freely than fat will, the reason being there’s always more water content in the muscles.
By using this specific method, what the researchers were able to determine was what determines muscle mass index, which is the actual amount of muscle relative to ones height. This was found to be more accurate than using the more popular BMI Index.
What was also researched was how this muscle mass index influenced ones risk of death. What was found was that the rates were lower in the fourth quartile of the muscle mass index, when compared to the first quartile.
Building More Muscle While Burning More Fat
So what all this testing points towards is that for all individuals, young or old and at various stages of health, all needs to build and sustain more muscle mass.
This can be done through a structured resistance strength training program, which will increase one’s muscle mass throughout their lifetime. What building muscle mass does is it burns fat quicker, this by increasing metabolism.
There was also a study which compared those who did aerobic exercises, to those who also combined it with strength training exercises such as weight training on a daily basis.
After a two month period, the group who did just the aerobics, had lost half a pound of muscle and three pounds of fat. The group which combined both aerobics and weight training during the same period, had gained two pounds of muscle mass while losing seven pounds of fat.
The Benefits Of Strength And Muscle Training
What doing so does is it increases the hormones and the neurochemicals which will make you feel better. What lifting weights does is it triggers the release of natural human growth hormones, this at any age, while lowering the cortisol levels which releases adrenaline, endorphins, and dopamine.
• Performing a strength training program avoids further muscle loss. It’s known that once we reach 30 years of age, we’ll begin to lose around one pound of muscle every year. What a pound of muscle does is it burns around 30 to 50 calories a day when at rest.
• Strength training prevents metabolic rate reduction, this because what lifting weights does is it increases muscle mass, preventing the resting metabolic rate from lowering.
• The more muscle that you have, the more energy that your body will use to sustain itself. The calories are then used for fuel instead of turning into stored energy which ultimately turns into fat.
• It increases your metabolic rate. What a 3 pound gain of muscle mass translates into is an increased metabolic rate of 7% percent. Once you begin creating muscle, you’ll burn more calories, even when resting.
• What consistent resistance weight training does is it increases your glucose metabolism by 21% percent, which can prevent the onset of diabetes in older adults.
• Increases your bone mineral density. What resistance training does is it offers the same effect on bone tissue as it does on muscle tissue. Strength training will trigger an increase in mineral density which can help in preventing osteoporosis in the elderly.
Muscle Mass And Living A Longer Life
What can’t be established is the cause and effect relationship which exists between muscle mass and living a longer life. What’s conclusive however is that more muscle mass does improve one’s health.
So the more muscle mass you have, the odds are the longer you’ll live. So rather than being concerned about your weight or BMI, what you should be concentrating on is packing on those muscles instead.