Increasing muscle power can extend life expectancy

Increasing muscle power by lifting weights would have positive effects on life expectancy.

To live longer, lift the cast iron!

This is, in essence, the conclusion of a new study conducted by Brazilian researchers, and presented in mid-April at Europrevent 2019, the congress of the European Society of Cardiology which was held in Lisbon. According to its authors, increasing its muscular power would extend its life expectancy. But still it is necessary to concentrate on the good exercises ...

"Getting up from a chair in old age and kicking a ball depends more on muscle power than muscle strength, but most weight-bearing exercises focus on the latter," says the professor. Claudio Gil Araújo, director of research and education at Clinimex, a sports medicine clinic located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. "Our study shows for the first time that people who have more muscle power tend to live longer."

Muscular power that needs to be maintained

According to the authors of the study, it is important to differentiate strength and muscle power. This is based on two elements: the force and the speed, which are generated during the coordination of the movements. For example, lifting a weight once requires strength, but lifting it several times as quickly as possible requires power. Climbing stairs also requires power while holding or pushing a heavy object (for example a car when the battery is flat) requires force instead.

"Motorized training is done by finding the best combination of speed and weight to lift or move in. For strength training in the gym, most people simply think about the amount of weight lifted and the number of repetitions. without paying attention to the speed of execution.But for optimal power training results, you should go beyond the typical strength training and add speed to your weight lifting, "says the professor. Araújo.

This muscle power gradually decreases with age, especially after 40 years. According to the authors, this loss of muscle power is strongly linked to all-cause mortality. However, it is possible to have a better survival rate by maintaining this muscle power.

A risk of death 10 to 13 times higher

To investigate this correlation between muscle power and life expectancy, researchers recruited 3,878 non-athletes aged 41 to 85 years who underwent maximal muscle strength testing by performing a vertical draw between 2001 and 2016.

The researchers determined each participant's maximum muscle power by taking the highest value they obtained in two or three attempts to increase weight, and then calculating energy stress per kilogram of weight.

They then split the participants into quartiles based on their maximum muscle power, the weak quartile versus the high quartile. They also analyzed the participants separately according to their gender.

The team followed the participants for an average of six and a half years after this initial measure, in which 247 men and 75 women died. The researchers found that people whose muscle power was above the median for their sex had higher survival rates than those in the lower quartiles.

In detail, the researchers found that first quartile participants had a 10 to 13 times higher risk of death than those in quartiles three and four, while the risk of second quartile participants was still four to five times higher. .

According to Professor Araújo, this is the first study to focus specifically on the link between muscle power and life expectancy. Other works, instead, had highlighted the benefits of increasing muscle strength to live longer.

Now scientists' research focuses on the link between muscle power and specific causes of death, including cardiovascular disease and cancer. "Physicians should consider measuring the muscle power of their patients and advise them to train more," the professor recommends.

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