Lean Body Mass and It's Importance to Longevity
Lean body mass (another word for muscle) is critical to living a long and healthy life. It is THE most important aging biomarker there is. If you are interested in living long and well, then you need to pay close attention to what I am about to tell you!
The Importance of Muscle
Muscle is so critically important to life, that if a person loses just 40% of their muscle, they
cannot survive! People with terminal illnesses like cancer or aids perish because they lose so much muscle, their bodies cannot maintain essential functions to support life!
It is very hard to have “too much muscle,” just as it is very hard to have “too much money!” Muscle is hard to build and easy to lose, just as money is hard to earn and easy to spend. Efforts to build muscle should be your number one priority!
There are a number of ways of calculating lean body mass to ensure you are maintaining muscle as you age. Below are the most widely used, with bioelectric and skinfold being the most economical and practical.
Functions of Muscle
Your “musculoskeletal” system has many functions, not the least of which is to allow you to be mobile and interact physically with your environment. Muscle is also the place where many essential bodily processes go on.
Your muscle tissue does many things, but for the purposes of understanding it’s role in antiaging, we will focus on three things: maintaining strength, maintaining bone density, and blood sugar control.
First you need strength to allow you to do daily tasks and take part in vigorous activities like sports and other forms of recreation. Muscles that are strong and supple provide strength, and allow you to live an active life without restrictions.
Muscles exert what is called “torsional force” on your bones, which in turn grow denser and stronger due to the process of “adapting” to the force your muscles put on them. You must build lean body mass to maintain bone density and prevent osteoporosis.
The main fuel that muscles burn when you are active is glucose, which is sugar that has been broken down from carbohydrates you have eaten. When you maintain muscle, you have the ability to burn glucose in your blood stream so that it does not get stored as fat.
Muscles also burn fat when you are at rest, so having plenty of lean muscle tissue allows you to stay trim, as your muscles will burn both the carbohydrates you get in your diet, and also your stored bodyfat, depending on the intensity of your activity.
To Sum Up...
You can see then that the “lack” of muscle can have serious consequences for your health, as bone density, blood sugar control, and basic strength can all be serious problems that affect the length and quality of your life.