Saturday, 22 March 2014

Shed Calories or Gain Muscle: Which Contributes to Longer Life?

Body mass index, or BMI, is often measured by physicians to monitor a patient’s need for exercise, and if a patient’s BMI points towards obesity, exercise is usually prescribed to shed extra pounds.  However, while obesity presents a variety of health challenges, a new long-term study has revealed that muscle mass is a vastly more accurate indicator of longevity.

Researchers from U.C.L.A. have just concluded a long-term study of 3,600 seniors over the course of 10 years.  The researchers focussed on subject mortality rates and used both BMI and muscle mass in an attempt to predict chances of death.  Their study, appearing in The American Journal of Medicine, revealed that BMI did rather poorly as a prediction tool.  Rather it was muscle mass that proved a reliable indicator.

Although the researchers could not conclusively establish a cause-and-effect relationship between muscle mass and survival they did assert its importance as a predictor of risk of death.  Study author Preethi Srikanthan, of U.C.L.A. had this to add: “Get up and start moving.  Focus on trying to maintain the maximum amount of resistance training that you can, and stop worrying so much about dropping calories.”

In other words, share a little time between the treadmill and the barbell; a stronger life might just be a longer life.         

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