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People With More Muscle Power Tend to Live Longer

People With More Muscle Power Tend to Live Longer

Written by Dr. Lakshmi Venkataraman, MD
Medically Reviewed by 
The Medindia Medical Review Team on April 12, 2019 at 6:39 PM
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  • Improving muscle power, which is defined as the ability to generate maximum force against a given load as quickly as possible can enhance longevity
  • Muscle training must, therefore, focus on improving both muscle strength and power for optimal outcomes

Better muscle power can increase longevity, reveals a recent study at the Exercise Medicine Clinic - CLINIMEX, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Professor Claudio Gil Ara˙jo, director of research and education, Exercise Medicine Clinic - CLINIMEX, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and the author of this study, said: "Our study shows for the first time that people with more muscle power tend to live longer."

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People With More Muscle Power Tend to Live Longer

The findings of the study are being presented at EuroPrevent 2019, a congress of the European Society of Cardiology.

Muscle Power and Muscle Strength

Greater muscle power is generated when a specific amount of work is completed in a shorter time duration or more work is completed in a specific time period. For example, climbing stairs faster needs more power than climbing slowly. Therefore, the speed of movement is important. However, holding a heavy object needs muscle strength rather than power.

Design of Study & Findings - Muscle Power and Increased Longevity

  • The study included 3,878 non-athletes between the ages of 41-85 years and their maximal muscle power was tested using the upright row exercise. The study lasted from 2001-16
  • The average age of volunteers was 59 years, of which 68 percent were men and five percent were aged over 80 years
  • The maximal muscle power was the highest result achieved after two or three attempts with increasing loads and was represented in terms of body weight (i.e. power per kg of body weight)
  • Results obtained were grouped into quartiles for comparing survival and analyzed separately for men and women
  • Participants were followed up on average for 6.5-years during which 247 men (10%) and 75 women (6%) died
  • Average values for muscle power were 2.5 watts/kg in males and 1.4 watts/kg in females
  • Participants with maximum muscle power more than the average value for their respective sex (i.e. in quartiles three and four) showed the best rates of survival
  • Participants in quartiles one and two had, respectively, 10-13 times and 4-5 times increased the risk of death compared to those with maximal muscle power
The findings of the study indicate that persons with maximal muscle power have longer survival rates.

Professor Ara˙jo also pointed out that this is the first instance that the role of muscle power in improving longevity has been assessed as previous studies focused mainly on muscle strength, using the handgrip exercise.

Initial Exercises to Improve Muscle Power

  • As we age, muscle power decreases and it is easy to improve muscle power particularly since better muscle power has been found to increase longevity
  • Power training involves finding the ideal combination of speed and force for the weight or load being lifted or moved
  • Always consult your doctor before starting a training routine and use a qualified trainer to guide you when you start out
  • For the study the upright row exercise was chosen since it is a common action performed routinely such as picking up stuff like groceries, lifting kids, etc
  • Do multiple exercises that address both upper and lower body muscles
  • Select a load having an optimal weight that is not so easy to lift but also not so heavy that you can barely move it
  • Perform three sets of exercises repeating six to eight times moving the load as quickly as possible but come back to rest at slow or normal speed
  • Rest between each set for at least 20 seconds to replenish the energy stored in the muscles before moving to the next set
  • Do six to eight repeats for each set

Increasing Muscle Power Further

  • Begin with six repeats in each set and if you feel comfortable, try and increase to eight
  • If you find eight repeats easy again, increase the weight and start with six repetitions
  • If you find a given weight or repeats uncomfortable, avoid "cheating" and go back to lesser weights and lesser repeats to avoid injuries.

Some Exercises That Increase Muscle Power

  • Jump squats
  • Medicine ball throw exercises
  • Overhead presses
  • Deadlifts
  • Bench presses
So, try out these simple and easy muscle power exercises to live longer..

References :
  1. The ability to lift weights quickly can mean a longer lifespaná - (https://navva.org/ireland/ireland/the-ability-to-lift-weights-quickly-can-mean-a-longer-lifespan/)

Source: Medindia

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