Working out has many physical and mental health benefits, this we know. People with a sedentary lifestyle are more likely than those who are active to develop a whole host of health problems. Now, there is even more good news for those who exercise, and especially for those building muscle mass. Research has indicated that bulking up a bit may help protect against insulin resistance while slashing your risk of developing type-2 diabetes. While pumping iron may not be everyone’s choice activity, a little strength training goes a long way when it comes to boosting metabolism, building muscle, and increasing overall quality of health.
Researchers at UCLA investigated the relationship between the comparison of muscle mass to overall body weight and the impact that this had on insulin resistance. With controls in place for age, race and other factors, the study indicated that insulin resistance was cut by 11% and the risk of type-2 diabetes by 12% for each 10% increase in the skeletal muscle index (the ratio of muscle mass to total body weight). These findings demonstrate the necessity of considering muscle mass along with other risk factors such as waist circumference and body mass index when considering overall metabolic health.
The American Diabetes Association reports that over 79 million people in the United States have inflated blood glucose levels, a precursor to diabetes. An assistant professor of medicine at Temple University School of Medicine, Daniel Rubin states that the findings from the study are consistent with the knowledge that both muscle and fat have an effect on metabolism. With more fat comes a greater risk of developing health conditions such as type-2 diabetes, while more muscle tends to cut down the risk. And while exercise alone has a positive impact, keeping the weight off also helps in decreasing the risk of a number of health complications.
While it is not known yet which types of muscle building activities will have the greatest impact on risk reduction, it is clear that change in muscle mass should be considered along with changes in fat when looking at insulin resistance and diabetes.
In addition to cutting diabetes risk, science Daily reported that people with more muscle than fat are better able to keep their blood pressure under control when they are put in a stressful situation. An international team of researchers found that men who had strong muscles as a result of working out regularly reduced their chance of developing cancer by 40 percent.
The good news is you don’t have to be 20 years old to start hitting the weights. If you need any inspiration, look no further than this 93-year-old bodybuilder who can outperform even those decades younger.