Older Adults Can Live Longer by Building Muscle

Feb, 2021 - By WMR

Older Adults Can Live Longer by Building Muscle

A research conducted by UCLA states that older people can live longer if they have high muscle mass and are unlikely to die soon.

There is no golden rule for measurement of body composition. Various studies have tried to answer this question using different techniques of measurement. Research indicates that doctors need to focus on improving muscle mass and not on BMI alone while consulting elders.

Data was collected by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) III to understand the role of muscle mass in maintaining good health. The focus was on a group of 3,659 people, including men who were more than 55 years of age and women who were more than 65 years of age. The next step was determining the natural causes of their death.

Bioeletrical impedance was used to calculate the body composition of the people. This involved running an electrical current through the body. The current passes easily through muscles than through fat due to the water content available in muscles. This helped in establishing muscle mass, the amount of muscle required according to height, which is similar to body mass index. The aim was to understand how muscle mass index is related to death. In simple words, greater muscle mass reduces risk of death. Therefore, instead of focusing on body weight, one must try to increase muscle mass.

One limitation of this study is that one cannot directly state a connection between muscle mass and survival rate. Also, bioeletrical impedance is not the most accurate method of measurement. Despite these limitations, researchers state that it is important for elders to focus on increasing muscle mass. Future studies should determine the type and duration of exercises that can improve muscle mass and increase mortality rate in adults.

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