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Muscle Health: the Benefits Outweigh the Weights!

Did you know that your body has over 600 muscles that help you move, breathe, pump blood, and lift things? If you're concerned about your Muscle Health or have low muscle mass, there are several ways to measure and improve it.

Muscle Health refers to the amount of muscle mass and strength in your body, including skeletal, smooth, and cardiac muscles. Having good Muscle Health can prevent soft tissue injuries and musculoskeletal disorders. It can also help keep you strong and fit, no matter what activity you love to do.

To measure Muscle Health, you can use various methods. However, the most objective way to measure muscle strength and other muscle-related factors is to use isokinetic dynamometers. These devices can measure muscle strength, power, range of motion, rate of force development, and muscle endurance.


Why does Muscle Health play a vital role in overall health?

Everyone knows that Muscle Health regarding muscle mass plays a role in increased workout performance, but it can play a role in your overall health, too. In an article in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, “The underappreciated role of muscle in health and disease,” researchers point out that muscle plays an important role in whole-body protein metabolism, which is particularly important when it comes to your body’s response to stress—including recovery from trauma or illness.

Muscle Health can also play an important role in the prevention of certain conditions and chronic diseases. In addition, gaining muscle mass can give you more energy and stronger muscles to perform daily tasks on the job or at home.

The risk of Sarcopenia.

A decline in Muscle Health regarding muscle loss tends to increase as we get older. Sarcopenia, or age-related muscle loss, begins at age 30—some estimates say it starts even earlier, at 25—and causes muscle loss of as much as 3 to 5% per decade. Untreated sarcopenia, as well as osteoporosis, can lead to an increased risk of injuries.


What is good Muscle Health for my age?

The following chart is a healthy range of muscle mass percentages:

Age               Women               Men

20-39            63-75.5%           75-89%

40-59            62-73.5%           73-86%

60-79            60-72.5%           70-84%


How do I Improve my Muscle Health?

When you engage in physical exercise, you are essentially causing trauma to your muscles. As your body works to repair or replace the damaged cells, the trauma activates satellite cells, which are located outside your muscle fibers. These satellite cells begin to multiply, with some of them fusing to your muscle fibers to form new muscle fibers and repair damaged ones. This process leads to an increase in the thickness and amount of your muscle cells, resulting in an increase in muscle mass, strength, and endurance. Ultimately, regular exercise improves your overall Muscle Health.


Did you know Muscle Health is good for the immune system?

Regular exercise can help to enhance the immune system, partly due to the role of muscle mass. A review published in the Journal of Sport and Health Science in 2019 highlighted that exercise has an anti-inflammatory effect and that consistent exercise can improve immune regulation, which can delay age-related dysfunction.

But why does muscle mass play a role in boosting the immune system? According to multiple studies, the proteins found in muscle mass can be utilized by the immune system to respond to injuries. In another research paper titled "The Underappreciated Role of Muscle in Health and Disease," the authors note that altered muscle metabolism plays a significant role in the development and prevention of several common pathologic conditions and chronic diseases.


Can Muscle Health relieve anxiety?

Numerous studies have demonstrated that exercise can help alleviate stress and anxiety. A study titled "The anxiolytic effects of resistance exercise," published in Frontiers of Psychology, revealed that muscle-building exercises, such as resistance or strength training, can significantly reduce anxiety. Additionally, a 2018 study in JAMA Psychiatry found that individuals with mild or moderate depression who engaged in resistance training two or more times per week experienced a significant reduction in their symptoms. Therefore, exercise that increases muscle mass could also have mental health benefits.


Does Muscle Health help with insulin sensitivity?

Did you know that having excess body fat may lead to type 2 diabetes? Exercise can help lower your risk of both diabetes and insulin resistance. However, there is more to it than just exercising. A report in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism suggests that muscle mass plays a significant role in regulating glucose. The report found that low muscle mass increases the risk of insulin resistance, while higher muscle mass relative to body size results in better insulin sensitivity and lower chances of pre- or overt diabetes. In other words, strength training can be an effective way to regulate glucose levels.


Improving your Muscle Health can add numerous health benefits, which heavily outweigh any reasons not to lift weights or workout. Whether you workout to enhance your health and increase your activity levels, focusing on one of your most valuable assets, your muscles, will go a long way in improving your overall health for years to come.

About the author

Philip Stotter, MS, CEP

Philip Stotter, MS, CEP has over 25+ years of experience in the medical, health, wellness, and professional sports industries. Clinician turned business developer, Philip is a sought-after industry speaker and professional consultant. His ground-breaking work in injury prevention, paired with the science of human movement, has put him at the forefront of product development with a multidisciplinary approach that integrates physiology, biomechanics, cutting-edge technologies, and data-driven research.