When you think of things that might save your life, 'more muscle mass' probably isn't on your top 10 list. Yet it may be more important than we think, even more important than how much we weigh or our BMI, which is the standard calculation we've used for ages, even though it isn't the best tool for measuring obesity.
I think most fitness experts already know what new research is proving: Body composition is a much better predictor of mortality and that the more muscle we have, the less likely we are to die prematurely. They discovered this by analyzing data collected by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which involved over 3,000 senior men and women. They measured body composition of the subjects using a bioelectrical impedance scale and found that all causes of mortality were lower in those with the most muscle mass.
Now, the study isn't perfect, of course. The authors point out that this data doesn't prove a direct cause-and-effect relationship, but that won't stop me from saying the following to my clients: If you don't lift weights, you will die.
I've always wanted to say that.
What that means is that, if you're not lifting weights, now is a really good time to start, especially if you're an older adult. And just in case you think you're too old for this, you're not - You can always gain muscle no matter how old you are and I have some resources that can help, if you don't know where to start.
- Exercise Basics for Seniors
- Exercise for Seniors
- Workouts for Older Adults
- 10 Weeks to Health and Fitness for Seniors
The other thing I want to mention is how you measure body composition, which isn't exactly easy. The accuracy of most body fat measurement tools is always in question, including my own body fat calculator which only offers an educated guess. You can learn more about that in my article, What's Your Body Fat? which goes into details about the different ways you can measure body fat.
So, what do you think? Does this motivate you to lift weights or do you already have the motivation you need? Leave a comment and tell us what you think.