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The Importance of Muscle in Healthy Aging

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

Story at-a-glance -

  • The older you get, the more important your muscle mass becomes. Not only are strong muscles a requirement for mobility, balance and the ability to live independently, but having reserve muscle mass will also increase your chances of survival during illness and hospitalization
  • Age-related loss of muscle mass is known as sarcopenia, and if you don’t do anything to stop it you can expect to lose about 15% of your muscle mass between your 30s and your 80s
  • While declines in muscle mass and strength are relatively well-synchronized in the 35- to 40-year-old group, strength dramatically drops off as you get into the 75-year-old and over groups, with 85-year-olds seeing dramatic declines in strength and function relative to the decline in muscles size
  • Research shows the strongest one-third of the population over 60 have a 50% lower death rate than the weakest
  • Research shows aerobic exercise in isolation reduces your all-cause mortality by 16% and strength training-only reduces it by 21%, whereas if you do both, you reduce your all-cause mortality by 29%

The older you get, the more important your muscle mass becomes. Not only are strong muscles a requirement for mobility, balance and the ability to live independently, but having reserve muscle mass will also increase your chances of survival when sick or hospitalized.

Muscle is lost far more easily and quicker than it’s built, so finding ways to continuously promote and maintain your muscle mass is really crucial, especially as you get older.


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