Did you know that lean body mass (especially muscle), to a very large extent, controls the overall metabolic rate of the body. Research published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society in 1997 shows muscle mass as being the number one determining factor in longevity, meaning the ability to experience a longer, yet more healthful life.
The problem is that the great majority of North Americans will lose anywhere from one-third to one-half of their lean body mass over their lifetimes—especially if they are sedentary. Progressive resistance exercise maintains muscle, but the question is, do you exercise with weights and if so how often?
According to Dr. Robert Mazzeo, professor of exercise physiology at the University of Colorado, the majority of major health risks for the frail elderly are due to immobility, falls, and fractures, which are all related to muscle weakness. Muscle weakness is directly related to muscle loss, and Dr. Mazzeo states, “Studies indicate that muscle strength declines by approximately 15 percent per decade in the sixties and seventies and about 30 percent thereafter.”
Researchers have also shown that a loss of muscle mass is even correlated to loss of brain and nervous system function as we age. Imagine having a better mind set and greater memory potential just by working out on a regular basis!
Studies prove that maintaining and enhancing muscle mass is associated with increased energy, lower body fat levels, better moods, stronger connective tissue, better immunity—and the list goes on. So instead of thinking about getting to the gym, if your goal is to age the right way, get your butt there NOW!
2 Ravaglia G, et al. Determinants of functional status in healthy Italian nonagenarians and centenarians: a comprehensive functional assessment by the instruments of geriatric practice. J Am Geriatr Soc. 1997 Oct;45(10):1196-202.