To Your Health
July, 2020 (Vol. 14, Issue 07)
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Muscle Can Be a Life Saver

By Editorial Staff

For everyone out there who thinks cardio is the only exercise you need, think again. Particularly as we get older, muscle is an essential component of healthy living. Here's why.

As we get older, we naturally lose muscle if we don't maintain / build it: up to 3-5 percent loss per decade, beginning as young as age 30 or so.

Muscle is also harder to develop as we age, even if you stay physically active. That's two strikes against us. The third strike, if we let it happen, is where the real problem lies: Lack of muscle can increase the risk of injury, falls, weight gain and more; and even reduce our overall life expectancy.

Yes, muscle can truly be a life saver, and recent research proves it. A study in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise put the theory to the test by evaluating 4,449 participants ages 50 years and older from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Low muscle strength increased the risk of all-cause mortality (risk of death) ... regardless of the person's overall muscle mass, whether they suffered from metabolic syndrome, and their total sedentary time or leisure-time physical activity. In other words, muscle made the difference.

Depending on your community's current social distancing restrictions and your home gym set-up, exercise – muscle-building or otherwise – to be a challenge lately. But don't throw in the towel; certainly not after reading about the importance of muscle strength. Click here for a sample video tutorial on simple body-weight exercises you can do at home; and ask your doctor for help designing a muscle-building program that's right for you.