We all know the benefits of maintaining our strength at all stages of our lives.
It helps us function in every day activities, gives us the ability to go above and beyond those activities when we choose, helps us look our best and feel confident, and truly helps us enjoy everything in life more than if we were weaker.
But could it also keep us around here longer?
Scientists have sought to find out the answer and they may have made some hopeful observations.
Published in the March 2018 issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, researchers from Indiana University, China Institute of Sports Science, and Beijing Pinggu Hospital, came together to analyze whether or not low muscle strength or low muscle mass were associated with an increased risk of all-cause mortality.
Their findings, although probably expected, are still astonishing nonetheless.
Looking at a population of 4449 participants age 50 and older from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, and after adjusting for other factors like age, sex, race, BMI, smoking, education, etc., the researchers divided the populations into four groups based on amounts of muscle strength and muscle mass. They then compared each quartile against the “normal” group to evaluate any association between muscle strength or muscle mass and all-cause mortality.
It might be assumed that those with higher muscle strength would be healthier and thus have a lower risk of all-cause mortality. However, the researchers found the odds of all-cause mortality among those with low muscle strength to be 2.34 times greater than those with what was considered normal muscle strength!
While diet and exercise have long been known to play extremely important roles in promoting overall health, preventing aging, and helping keep disease at bay, it might be expected that muscle strength would have some correlation.
Such a significant correlation, however, really jumps off the page.
While additional studies need to be performed to corroborate these findings, this gives us another indicator of the importance of our physical fitness. The more science looks into it, the more it seems to discover how far beyond aesthetics and our ability to function physical strength and fitness go.
Studies have also shown how resistance training has the potential to improve our heart health, which you can read about here, prevent aging, which you can read about here, and even boost mood, which you can read about here.
If you are going to take up exercise of any kind, be sure to do so safely and make sure to have fun! The fastest way to quitting on your fitness is to turn your workouts into work.
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