Preventive care Your Health & Wellness

Build muscle and substantially reduce your risk of heart disease

Written by Diane Archer

We’ve heard it before. Exercise works wonders on your brain and your body. We know from one recent study that active older men and women in their 70’s, who have exercised regularly throughout their adult lives, have muscles that are hard to differentiate from 25 year olds who are in good health. The latest research shows that men who build muscle in middle age substantially reduce their later risk of heart disease.

Yes. Gretchen Reynolds reports for The New York Times on the latest study, revealing that being muscular before you retire can affect your heart health in later life. The study, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, found that men with more muscle in middle age had an 81 percent lower likelihood of developing heart disease than other men. Muscle mass is critical for healthy aging.

Muscle gives you strength. It also helps you control your blood sugar and makes your body work better, reducing inflammation. As you age, however, you tend to lose muscle. When you lose a lot of muscle, you become frail and weak. You are likely to develop cardiovascular disease.

Though the researchers could not show that having a lot of muscle keeps people from getting heart disease, the relationship between men’s muscle mass and lower risk of heart disease was significant.

So, keep up the exercise. It is fabulous medicine for your mental and physical health.

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