Muscles linked to longer life? A new study is supporting that not only is exercise a key ingredient when it comes to health and longevity, but adding muscle mass now equates to endurance of our bodies – in other words, living longer.
According to a HealthDay report as carried by MSN on Tuesday, “the more muscle older adults have, the lower their risk of death, according to a new study.”
Researchers looked at the muscle mass index from more than 3,600 men 55 and older, and women who were 65 and older, and compared their musculature to health problems. The information used in the study came from participants in the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 1988 and 1994.
The research, done by the geriatrics division at University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine, showed that those with greater muscle mass had developed less chronic health problems related to aging, and also showed that those who were more “fit,” are still alive today.
“In other words, the greater your muscle mass, the lower your risk of death,” study co-author Dr. Arun Karlamangla. “Thus, rather than worrying about weight or body mass index, we should be trying to maximize and maintain muscle mass.”
The findings add to growing evidence that overall body composition is a better predictor of all-cause death than body mass index (BMI), according to the researchers. BMI is an estimate of body fat based on weight and height.
The results were recently published in the American Journal of Medicine.
Study leader Dr. Preethi Srikanthan from the UCLA School of Medicine cautioned relating the findings as a direct cause-and-effect relationship to longer life; other health factors must still be considered.
“As there is no gold-standard measure of body composition, several studies have addressed this question using different measurement techniques and have obtained different results,” Srikanthan added.
“We conclude that measurement of muscle mass relative to body height should be added to the toolbox of clinicians caring for older adults,” Srikanthan wrote in the university's press release. “Future research should determine the type and duration of exercise interventions that improve muscle mass and potentially increase survival in (healthy), older adults.”