Many of us go to the gym for the sake of getting bigger and stronger, and probably also for the sake of overall health, right?
Well, according to new research from the University of Michigan, hitting the gym and getting all strong and toned is good for more than just looking your best…it might also help you live longer. Sure, some women might find "Dad Bods" sexy, but they're sure as hell not the healthiest thing in the world.
The study found that, compared to people who have a grip strength stronger than the baseline measurement, those who have lower levels of muscle strength are around 50 percent more likely to die prematurely.
“Maintaining muscle strength throughout life — and especially in later life — is extremely important for longevity and aging independently,” lead researcher Kate Duchowny told Michigan News.
Hand grip strength is a good indicator of health because it’s simple to assess and is a more accurate benchmark of longevity compared to other common measurements like muscle mass, because if the muscles in your hand and arm are weak, it probably means other muscles, like your heart, are also weak. And that’s not good.
For the study, the researchers analyzed data from 8,326 participants aged 65 and older, which was collected for another research project titled the Health and Retirement Study. To categorize muscle strength, multiple levels were determined, and the “muscle weakness” cutoff point was 22 kg for women and 39 kg for men.
Once the data from all 8,000-plus participants was evaluated, it was discovered that 46 percent of the participants classified as “weak,” which means nearly half of the national population is at risk of premature death. Yikes.
“Having hand grip strength be an integral part of routine care would allow for earlier interventions, which could lead to increased longevity and independence for individuals,” she says. “We believe our cut-points more accurately reflect the changing population trends of older Americans and that muscle weakness is a serious public health concern."
That said, it might be time to work on getting those muscles stronger. You'll be glad you put in the extra effort when you're aging like a fine wine instead of six feet under.
H/T: Men's Health