A 2014 article in Scientific American reports a ten-year study of 3,600 senior adults found that muscle mass is a better predictor of longevity than BMI (Body Mass Index). This suggests that a focus on weight loss may not be as beneficial as a focus on building muscle mass.
The word mass is often confusing and misunderstood. People quickly begin thinking of body builders with huge muscles. This is not the idea. It is simply about building a strong and functional body that can move through full ranges of human movement.
Building more muscle mass is a major factor in developing a healthy BMI. The more muscle mass one maintains, the faster one’s metabolism responds. According to Keith Baar, PhD, professor at the University of California-Davis, a faster metabolism resulting from higher levels of muscle mass will in turn lower ones’ risk for obesity. A lower risk for obesity means a lower risk for diabetes and heart related diseases.
Being stronger means you will be able to lay down and get up off the floor; go up and down steps; get in and out of a car; get on and off the toilet. Simply stated, you will live a more independent life. The direct result is you will feel better, have a better quality of life, and enjoy the activities that make you feel alive for years to come.
Start lifting those weights! It is truly never too late. Include squats, deadlifts, lunges, presses, pulls and planks. If these exercises are unfamiliar to you do some research on the internet, take a class, or consider trying a personal trainer at least to help you get started. A certified personal trainer may be a good investment. A personal trainer can make sure you learn how to lift safely and effectively. A personal trainer is able to modify a program specific to your needs and limitations. Using a trainer in the same way one takes a class to self-educate may equip you well enough to begin training on one’s own.
At any rate, get started!