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Why Building Muscle Is Important for Good Health

Strong muscles are important for everyone, even if you’re not an athlete, bodybuilder, or your family’s designated jar opener. Being strong allows you to support your body in various situations and positions, and allows you to perform essential movements like lifting, gripping, bending, and pulling.

Stronger muscles produce stronger bones and joints, which can help prevent injury, as well as stave off degenerative bone diseases like osteoporosis. But increasing muscle mass and strength can also prevent chronic diseases that are seemingly unrelated to your ability to do bicep curls and squats.

Stronger muscles aid your metabolism, which makes sense if you think about the fact that one of the main functions of metabolism is to get fuel to those muscles. One 2013 study found that bigger, stronger muscles actually combated insulin resistance and prevented the development of type 2 diabetes in mice. (Our view on the use of animals in medical research is here.)

The need to maintain muscle mass becomes more critical as you age because muscle loss occurs naturally with aging. As much as it pains me to write this, muscles start deteriorating in your 30s. Between ages 40 and 60, most people lose an average of 8% of their muscle mass every decade. After 60, the loss typically accelerates at an even faster rate.

Let’s drive home the seriousness of muscle loss by using its scary medical name: sarcopenia (from the Greek sarco, meaning flesh, and penia, meaning poverty). Studies show that sarcopenia comes with many health consequences: People get diseases sooner, move less easily, and can die earlier.

Muscle strength and mass are even associated with a lower risk of cognitive decline and dementia. So leg day may actually turn out to be brain day.

(Excerpt taken from The Food Revolution Network)

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