The spirit of Jack LaLanne is probably saying, “I told you so!”
The basic conclusion of a UCLA study is, “the greater your muscle mass, the lower your risk of death.” But why is muscle mass important for your health and longevity?
First, you need muscle to be physically active, and physical activity is an essential element of health for humans. Why? Because the only way to remove lethal toxins from every tissue in your body is to expand and contract skeletal muscle. Skeletal muscle is the pump that removes these harmful chemicals made by your cells.
Second, muscle converts blood sugar into energy. The less muscle mass you have, the less ability your body has to metabolize blood sugar or glucose. If you don’t convert glucose into energy, it gets stored as fat. And if you chronically take in a lot more glucose than you need, your body builds up dangerous levels of belly and liver fat, which are linked to heart disease, strokes and cancers.
Another important role of muscle is found in an article published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition titled “The under appreciated role of muscle in health and disease.” In short, your muscle mass is a critical reservoir of amino acids during fasting periods.
During periods of fasting, like when you’re sleeping, your body breaks down muscle cells to maintain a constant supply of amino acids to all the other tissues in your body. Your body uses these amino acids to repair tissue throughout your body while you fast. Without this constant supply of amino acids, your body would eventually fall apart, and you would die.
These amino acids also keep your immune system functioning to fight diseases like cancer, and pathogen invasions into your body. I think you would agree that this is an important function to maintain health.
What are some of the best ways to develop and maintain a healthy amount of muscle mass?
- Stay physically active. The less you use your muscles, the less you’ll have.
- Do strength training type of exercises like dumbbell exercises and core exercises.
- Limit your dietary consumption of sugars and low-fiber carbs.
- And eat healthy, lean proteins from fruits, vegetables, legumes, cold water ocean fish, fowl and egg whites.
Want to be healthier and live longer as you age? Make sure to develop and maintain a healthy amount of muscle mass in your body. It’s important for physical activity, toxic waste removal, glucose metabolism and a vital source of amino acids during fasting periods. And you can have a healthy amount of muscle mass with adequate strength training type of exercises, and a healthy diet of high quality proteins.
Make Jack proud.