Why Increasing Muscle Mass May Help Decrease Injuries and Age-Related Illnesses
A muscular body looks good and is often a goal for many weightlifters. Clothes look (and feel) better, and compliments from others are a constant confidence booster. Not to mention, looking and feeling strong is priceless.
And while you may already know that maintaining muscle mass helps burn fat, there are other benefits that will ensure your later years are stronger and safer.
From injury prevention to combating age-related diseases, Dr. Osborn, who has over 30 years of training experience and is a trained medical professional, shares just how important it is to keep lifting and strengthening your body as you age. Muscle Mass is the key to longevity, here’s why.
Although these stats are alarming, the reality is, you can preserve your muscle mass and walk confidently into your future if you stick to a regular strength training regimen. (And of course, practice a solid nutrition plan!).
Without question, when the body hosts adequate muscle mass as it ages, many downfalls will be avoided. Here, Dr. Osborn shares the vital benefits muscle mass provides to the human body and quality of life.
Lowers the Potential for Arterial Damage: Muscle is metabolically very important as muscle filters glucose out of the vascular system, thereby lessening any potential damage induced by high levels of circulating glucose. High levels of circulating glucose damage arterial walls, and
this damage is the catalyst for plaque formation. The glucose-lowering effect of muscle (by strength training in the glycolytic range) lowers the potential for arterial damage, therefore, less damage and less atherosclerotic disease.
Increases Bone Density, Reduces the Risk of Falling:
This corresponds to a decreased propensity for fracture, a major cause of morbidity in the senior population. “You want to run (literally) into your later years with as much muscle as possible,” says Dr. Osborn. In a similar context, “The more muscle on one’s frame typically corresponds to a reduced risk of fall; the most common cause of head injury in the senior population.”
Osborn spends many of his days performing brain surgery on individuals who suffered head injuries. Most of these injuries were a result of a falls due to lack of muscle, along with declining cognitive function. These two factors often go hand and hand. “Unfortunately, those who fail to exercise and, in particular, strength train, are not stimulating their brains,” says dr. Osborn. “Cognitive function and coordination falter and muscle mass wanes.”
However, those who exercise typically have more muscle on their frames, fall less, and have better-functioning brains with a reduced incidence of dementia.
Muscle Confers a Survival Benefit:
Boosts Fat Burning:
“The best way to burn fat off your body, contrary to popular opinion, is strength training,” Osborn explains. The amassment of muscle will increase one’s basal metabolic rate (BMR), the number of calories it takes to maintain your body as is – in a steady state. Simply put, the more muscle, the higher your BMR.
“Muscle is ‘metabolically expensive’—either you fuel it, or it will be shed,” Osborn explains. Muscle can derive calories from food that you eat or from bodily fat stores, particularly in the immediate wake of a heavy training session. Muscle burns fat off your waistline—meaning, yes, many of us can scrap the countless situps, according to Osborn.
Overall Injury Prevention:
“Strong abdominal muscles and muscle in general – when combined with flexibility – prevents injury,” says Dr. Osborn. “They facilitate the lifting and maneuvering of objects in awkward positions, in real-life situations.”
Have you ever helped a friend lift a sofa? If so, you know just how important it is to have a strong lower body and, in particular, a strong lower back.
“Similarly, the bracing effect of strong lumbar erectors and your abdominal wall will prevent you from getting injured and potentially from developing lower back pain,” says Dr. Osborn, who is also a powerlifter and holds the Florida state deadlifting record in the Master’s II division. “No low back pain. Get the picture?” he asks.
Now that you know the benefits of hosting solid muscle mass, it’s time to look at the downside of skimping out on strength training.
Strength training is the key to gaining and sustaining muscle mass. The secret to finding the best training program for you is choosing the one you enjoy doing while making sure it challenges and strengthens you consistently.
Here is a great strength training program option for you to give a try!
Want to gain muscle no matter your age or current physical condition? Dr. Osborn encourages progressive resistance training, utilizing proper techniques, and explains this training method is the foundation of the program detailed in his book ‘Get Serious.’
PRO TIP: This training program is best paired with proper nutrition, adequate rest, sleep, and the avoidance of overtraining.
Workout Example 1
Overview: The bench press is the primary movement.
Workout Example 2
Overview: The bench press will be followed by deadlifts.
Workout Example 3
Overview: Auxiliary exercises are the focus.
NOTE: The program in “Get Serious” is a back-to-basics approach utilizing heavy, compound anabolic movements that tax the most muscle in the shortest period of time. These movements: squat, bench press, deadlift, overhead press, and a pull/chin-up—have made men and women strong for eons. People nowadays tend to gravitate to machine-based training or WOD-type protocols when they should truly be sticking to properly performed basic movements that load the musculoskeletal system and are not rooted in racing or competition. Bang for the buck, there is nothing better.