Want to Live Longer? Build Muscle

The greater your muscle mass, the lower your risk of death. According to a new study published in the American Journal of Medicine, it’s just that simple.

How’d they figure that out? Not with BMI, that’s for sure. Rather than relying on something so imprecise, researchers used something called bioelectrical impedance. Because muscle allows electrical current to pass through more easily than fat, this method gives a more reliable reading of how much muscle one has. Researchers took data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) III, conducted between 1988 to 1994. They examined the results of 3,659 people at least aged 55, surveying them again in 2004 (basically, to see who’d died).

What they found was that people with greater muscle mass were less likely to have died. Why? Researchers have no idea, but with all the benefits of losing weight, it doesn’t hurt to do so. Also, it doesn’t matter how old you are—you can build muscle even if you’re long retired.

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