The more muscle you have the longer you live
The more muscle mass people over 65 have the lower their chance of dying. Lean body mass protects as the years pass, wrote researchers from Umea University in Sweden in 2012 in Age and Ageing.
The Swedish researchers used data on 921 men and women aged between 65 and 89, which they had been collecting since 1991. The researchers determined the men and women's body composition because they were researching osteoporosis. In mid 2009 the researchers found out which men and women were still alive, and then looked to see whether there was a relationship between survival and body composition.
The table below summarises the relationships they found. Among the women the mortality rate was lower the higher their lean body mass, but fat mass also had a protective effect.
The gynoid fat in particular seems to have a protective effect. This is the fat that you associate typically with women, such as fat on the hips. Women with a lot of gynoid fat have a pear-shaped body.
In men also lean body mass reduced the mortality rate.
If the Swedes have got the right end of the stick, you'd expect strength training to extend life expectancy.
Age Ageing. 2012 Sep;41(5):677-81.
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