Does Muscle Mass Make You Live Longer Or Age Faster?

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This article talks about muscle and aging. Does muscle make you live longer or age faster?

Time passes by for everyone, and every second brings something new. For guys who stay away from major health issues, the alterations occur gradually over time, but the effects are cumulative. If you don’t put in any effort, these are the effects that aging can have on you.

The effects of aging can begin to show as early as a person’s thirties. Once a person reaches the age of 25 to 30, their maximal heart rate decreases annually by around one beat per minute, and the optimum power of their heart to pump blood decreases by between 5 and 10 percent per decade. This explains why a 25-year-old individual with a healthy heart has the capability of circulating 2½ quarts of blood every minute, while a heart belonging to a 65-year-old individual is only able to reach 1½ quarts, and an 80-year-old heart, even if it has not been affected by any ailments, can only manage to move a single quart. This reduced ability to use oxygen efficiently can cause tiredness and shortness of breath even with regular tasks.

Beginning in their forties, a man’s arteries typically become harder, and their blood pressure may start to increase. The consistency of his blood changes, making it denser and harder for it to circulate effectively, even as the quantity of oxygen-filled red blood cells goes down.

The majority of individuals in the United States tend to put on an average of 3-4 lbs. per annum as they enter their middle years. As men enter their 40s, they become prone to losing muscle, and any extra pounds they may gain is most likely just fat. An increase in body fat can lead to higher levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and lower levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol. It can be seen why the increase in blood sugar levels by around 6 points each decade is the cause of type 2 diabetes being very widespread among elderly people.

Over time, a man’s muscle mass will decline by as much as half, leading to frailty and handicap. At the same time, muscles and tendons become inflexible and tense. Men have a lower likelihood of having osteoporosis (“thin bones”) than women, yet they still experience a decrease in bone calcium as they age, raising their chance of bone breaks. A decrease in testosterone, a male hormone, which is seen to drop by approximately 1% each year after 40, could be an explanation for the decrease in muscle mass and bone density. Despite normal testosterone levels and the ability to reproduce staying intact most of a man’s lifetime, many find their sex drive and sexual energy diminish gradually over time.

The nervous system also changes over time. Reactions are not as quick, one’s ability to use their body in a unified manner decreases, and recollection has a tendency to fade away when it most counts. People tend to get less sleep as they get older, even if they don’t need to use an alarm to wake up. It is expected that morale may decrease as physical capacities diminish.

This appears to be a gloomy situation — and it affects healthy male individuals. Individuals with medical issues begin to age before and become even more sluggish. All in all, aging is not for sissies.

Nobody can put a halt to the passage of time, but everybody can reduce its pace. Studies have indicated that a considerable part of the modifications that are connected to getting older is mainly due to the lack of use. This is new evidence that upholds what Dr. William Buchan, the 18th-century Scottish physician, said: “The lack of proper exercise has the greatest impact on a person’s life span and wellbeing.” At the same time, British poet John Gay also stated: “Regular exercise will protect your youth.”

Physical activity is not the secret to eternal youth. However, it is an excellent way to boost energy levels and vigor, especially when done as part of an encompassing routine. A remarkable study conducted in Texas illustrates the tremendous significance of physical activity.

Muscle Loss and Aging

Having a good amount of muscle mass is associated with a longer lifespan and healthier years of life. Studies show that inadequate muscle mass increases the likelihood of age-linked conditions like metabolic syndrome, osteoporosis, obesity, neurodegenerative diseases and cardiovascular ailments. Studies suggest that even a small gain in muscle mass can help guard against metabolic syndrome, regardless of the person’s existing muscle mass.

Older individuals who have more lean tissue tend to have longer lifespans and a decreased risk of death. Having inadequate levels of physical fitness alongside poor nutrition habits can be a major risk for illness and death from any cause. Muscular strength has a negative correlation with mortality from all causes. Additionally, the relationship between the two is not dependent on anything else. A study published in 2016 demonstrated that older adults (65 years and older) who completed strength training had decreased mortality rates as compared to those who did not.

Gripping power is a basic and affordable way of determining total muscular strength. Grip strength that is low has been connected to premature death, heart-related problems such as cardiovascular diseases and stroke, and myocardial infarction. It is believed that diastolic blood pressure is a better indication of mortality than systolic blood pressure. A recently conducted study in the UK involving 400 000 individuals evaluated the relationship between grip strength, being overweight, and death. It was determined that having more strength in one’s grip was connected to an 8% lower chance of death.

For men, the relationship between mortality rate and fat mass is U-shaped; for women, the relationship is negative. In essence, more body fat can be beneficial in older women, while having either an abnormally low or excessively high body fat level raises the potential risk of mortality in men. It is usually optimum for men and women not to be overly thin or overweight, particularly when they are elderly.

Muscle Aging Process

As people get older after 30, there is a steady drop in their skeletal muscle and strength, a process known as sarcopenia. Once someone reaches the age of 40, they can experience a yearly drop of up to 1% in their muscle and strength. That’s rather noteworthy, and by the time you get to your seventies, the larger part of your muscle mass will be lost, which is a serious worry with respect to wellness and independence.

The potential for elderly people to lose muscle is efficiently addressed by examples such as prolonged bed rest and certain disabilities. Elderly individuals have an elevated chance of skeletal breaks due to diminished muscle strength and weakened bone mineral density. Once an injury occurs, people are forced to be inactive. Due to this, their overall health begins to have a negative impact, leading to issues such as obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol, since they no longer have a reason to be physically active.

Those who have a higher muscle mass in comparison to those with a lower muscle mass manage to get discharged home more quickly and have a greater 1-year survival rate when dealing with hip fractures. They additionally have a more accelerated recuperation period. Up to 15% of women and 23% of men die prematurely at least 11 years after breaking a bone, due to muscular weakening.

Having a low amount of muscle not related to obesity raises the danger of getting diabetes and metabolic syndrome since it can improve the body’s ability to process insulin and sugar. Having more muscle strength would increase your resting metabolic rate, making it simpler for you to drop pounds and keep away from insulin opposition. As you get older, your metabolic rate and muscle mass go down, making it more likely for you to become overweight and suffer from metabolic syndrome.

Muscle and Aging

Muscle mass can be thought of as a safety net that shields you from numerous diseases connected to getting older. It is advised to perform weight training rather than solely cardio, as purely aerobic activities will not develop muscle.

The challenge is that as one gets older, it becomes more difficult to build muscle. This is the result of the typical decrease in anabolic hormones such as testosterone, as well as becoming less physically active. The levels of sarcopenia correspond to the decrease in growth hormone.

It has been demonstrated that individuals of all ages, both young and old, can stimulate muscle protein synthesis through resistance training. One session of weight training can raise muscle protein synthesis by as much as two or three times, and this can be magnified even more if you include plenty of protein in your diet. If you don’t take advantage of what you have, you will eventually end up losing it, particularly when it comes to physical strength and endurance.

Having muscles has a beneficial effect on one’s lifespan and can possibly contribute to living a longer life. Even though it won’t lengthen your life, it can still be valuable by improving the quality of your life for the years you have. This technique is known as Flattening the Curve, where you manage to remain dynamic and capable until your senior years and then pass away fairly quickly. Instead of experiencing a steady decline in their physical and mental health in their 30s or 40s, most average people rely on a variety of medications and drugs to maintain their wellbeing for the remainder of their lives. I’d rather be physically active and in good shape for as much time as I can, even if it would ultimately mean a reduced lifespan. No matter what, having more muscle and getting stronger will extend your lifespan.

Exercise, Illness, and Longevity

An adequate exercise regimen can assist males in postponing many of the indicators of aging, especially when it is done in conjunction with other preventative procedures. The same initiative can help to prevent persistent illnesses that often have a negative impact on a person’s later life.

Heart disease is the leading killer of American men. Exercising can have an influential impact on reducing the chances of heart attack as it can address a number of cardiovascular risk elements such as cholesterol level, blood pressure, diabetes, weight problems, and stress. In 1978, the Harvard Alumni Study found that male individuals who work out frequently are 39% less likely to have a heart attack compared to those who don’t exercise. This was an exceptionally influential discovery, which has been proven on numerous occasions.

Stroke is the third most common cause of fatality in the United States. Atherosclerosis plays a major role in the development of both heart disease and stroke, which explains why they share so many risk factors. It is expected that physical activity can decrease the chances of having a stroke. It was found in the Harvard Alumni Study that following the report on exercise and heart disease 24 years prior, the mild activity could reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by 24%, with moderate to intensive exercise having an even greater effect, which lowered the risk by 46%.

Cancer is unique and distinct. However, exercise can help to combat the second most common cause of death in the United States. Harvard’s Health Professionals Follow-Up Study discovered that men who exercise regularly have a 47% reduced risk of colon cancer, a fact that is echoed in numerous other research projects. There is some evidence that suggests that exercising regularly may assist in the prevention of prostate cancer, though it is not definitive.

Do the Stronger Live Longer?

Insurance agents are not the only ones who would benefit from being able to forecast disability and longevity – doctors would benefit too. Researchers at the Honolulu Heart Program and Honolulu-Asia Aging Study proposed an easy method of accomplishing the task. A study conducted between 1965 and 1970 looked at 8,000 male individuals of the average age of 54 to evaluate their physical health. The maximal handgrip strength of each volunteer was determined, in addition to the usual risk factors. The scientists monitored the men over a period of 25 years on average. At that point, 37% of the males passed away; those who lived were between the ages of 71 and 93. The strength of one’s grip in their middle years does not signify how long one will live. However, it does have an influence on their level of disability. The individuals who boasted the most robust physical strength during their middle-aged years had the least risk for physical impairments and reliant living during their later years, even after accounting for any medical conditions.

Cardiovascular fitness and aerobic capacity do predict longevity. In the Hawaiian study, muscular strength was not linked to infirmity in old age, but it was predictive.

How Much Muscle for Increasing Life Expectancy

What should be the limit in muscle mass, and what is the best way to gain it? I reckon you can form a U-shaped bell curve for that.

  • Low muscle mass is hard to characterize because it can be quite subjective to a person’s height and gender. Generally, a skinny fat physique, little to no muscle, low bone density, frailty, and muscle weakness are a few indicators of low muscle mass. Low muscle mass would increase your risk of osteoporosis, metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, sarcopenic obesity, and cachexia.
  • Too much muscle mass is unachievable for the average person who doesn’t take anabolic steroids. Only bodybuilders are capable of reaching levels of muscle mass at which it begins to increase the risk of heart disease and cancer. Unless you become obese like a fat powerlifter while trying to build muscle. Bodybuilders also tend to eat a super high protein diet with a high eating frequency, which may have a role in aging as well. That’s why you still have to keep an eye on your overall bloodwork as well because you can have a lot of muscle but still have high blood sugar or high blood pressure because you’re eating a bad diet or just eating such a large quantity of calories.
  • The optimal amount of muscle is a very wide spectrum that comprises the majority of the bell curve. You don’t need a whole lot of muscle to be in the zone where you are helping with longevity, but you definitely don’t want to be under muscled. Regardless, other lifestyle factors are still important as well.


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