Have you ever wondered why muscle mass is important? Increased muscle mass is actually one reason why some people are in pretty good shape. Increased muscle mass can make you stay slim and get in shape.
Muscle Mass and Longevity
There are many benefits of building up muscle mass. It helps strengthen connective tissues and increases bone density so that risk for injuries and osteoporosis is reduced. Increased muscle mass in the body increases metabolic rate so that the body burns calories even though you don't exercise.
The body builds muscles mass through exercise. Exercise can also improve balance and coordination of muscles, improve blood sugar control, improve mood and improve sleep. Exercise has other benefits as well in terms of health and longevity.
A recent study by UCLA researchers shows that older Americans need to have more muscle mass so that they can avoid the risk of having premature death. This study adds data to the fact that overall body composition and not body mass index or BMI can predict mortality from all causes. The results of this study were published in the American Journal of Medicine. This research was the culmination of UCLA research done previously which have found out that building muscle mass can decrease the risk for metabolic problems.
The study was done in the understanding that the measurement of body composition is a better predictor of health risks than body mass index. There is no standard currently for body composition measurements. Previously studies have focused on the impact of mortality of body mass index. The researchers suggest in their study that experts should find ways on how to measure body composition to determine risk for premature deaths.
In this study, the researchers obtained and studied data from around 3,659 individuals that included men who were 55 or older and women who were 65 or older at the time of the survey. This data were collected by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) III and was conducted between the years 1988 and 1994. In this study the volunteers underwent measurement of body composition using bio-electrical impedance, a process by which electrical current is made to run through the body. This process measures body composition based on the fact that the electrical current can easily pass through muscles than through fat. This is because the muscles contain more water than fat. The researchers determined the muscle mass index of each subject through this process. The muscle mass index is equal to the amount of muscle in relation to height and is also similar to a body mass index. The researchers associated muscle mass index with the risk of death. They soon found out that all-cause mortality was lower in those with greater muscle mass.
The researchers hypothesized that the more muscle mass you have, the lower is your risk for death. Thus the researchers recommend that people, especially those of older age, should maximize and maintain muscle mass. There are some limitations of this study however. For one, the results of this study cannot establish a relationship a cause-and-effect relationship between survival and muscle mass using the given data. Also, there may be other methods of measuring muscle mass aside from bio-electrical impedance since it is not the most advanced method and not the gold-standard for measurement of muscle mass. However, despite these limitations, this study has presented the independent survival prediction ability of muscle mass through bio-electrical impedance.
Increasing Muscle Mass
So how do we increase muscle mass? First you should constantly apply tension to your muscle. Repetitive tension or stress to the muscle by lifting weights or stretching enlarges the muscle fibers which further leads to an increase in muscle mass. Another way is to eat fish containing high amounts of fat such as salmon. You should also eat foods which are high in protein and carbohydrates so that you will gain the energy that you need and the right amount of protein needed to build and repair body tissues.
You may know more about keeping your muscles healthy by browsing other articles on this site.