In the pursuit of health and fitness, much attention is often given to shedding excess weight and achieving a lean physique. While maintaining a healthy weight is undoubtedly important, another crucial aspect of overall health that is often overlooked is total body muscle mass. Beyond aesthetics and strength, increasing muscle mass plays a fundamental role in promoting and maintaining optimal health and well-being. Let's delve into why building muscle should be a priority for everyone.
Improved Insulin Sensitivity
One of the most significant benefits of increasing muscle mass is its positive impact on balanced blood sugar or insulin sensitivity. Skeletal muscle, or the muscles attached to our skeleton, is a primary driver of whole-body insulin control and is the only type of muscle a person can voluntarily control. By increasing muscle mass through resistance training, you enhance your body's ability to utilize glucose effectively, reducing the risk of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
Enhanced Bone Health:
Weight-bearing exercises, such as resistance training, not only strengthen muscles but also provide beneficial effects on bone health. By subjecting bones to mechanical stress, resistance training stimulates bone remodeling, leading to increased bone density which in turn reduces the risk of osteoporosis and fractures, an especially crucial priority as we age.
Maintaining muscle mass is essential for preserving functional independence and quality of life, particularly in older adults. Sarcopenia, the age-related loss of muscle mass and strength, can significantly impair mobility, balance, and overall physical function. Muscle mass decreases approximately 3-8% per decade after the age of 30 and continues to decline at a higher rate after the age of 60. By engaging in strength training and preserving muscle mass, individuals can better maintain their independence and perform daily activities with ease.
Muscle tissue is metabolically active, meaning it requires energy (calories) to sustain itself even at rest. Therefore, the more muscle mass you have, the higher your basal metabolic rate (BMR) which is the number of calories your body needs to function at rest. Increasing muscle mass can effectively boost your metabolism, making it easier to manage weight and prevent obesity-related health issues.
Strong muscles act as natural supporters and protectors for joints and ligaments, helping to reduce the risk of injuries and chronic pain. Strengthening muscles around vulnerable areas, such as the knees, hips, and shoulders, can help stabilize these joints and alleviate joint strain during physical activities or sports, lowering the likelihood of overuse injuries and enhancing overall joint health.
The benefits of increasing muscle mass extend beyond the physical realm to mental well-being as well. Exercise, including strength training, has been shown to release endorphins which are neurotransmitters that promote feelings of happiness and reduce stress and anxiety. Additionally, achieving fitness goals and witnessing improvements in strength and muscle tone often boost our self-esteem and confidence, enhancing our overall mental health.
In a society where sedentary lifestyles and obesity are prevalent, prioritizing muscle mass is crucial for combating various health challenges and promoting a healthy lifestyle. Beyond its role in strength and aesthetics, increasing muscle mass offers a myriad of health benefits, from boosting metabolism and insulin sensitivity to promoting bone health and injury prevention. Incorporating regular resistance training into your fitness routine, which is achieved by attending daily classes at your CrossFit box, regardless of age or fitness level, can significantly contribute to a healthier, more vibrant life. Let's embrace the power of muscle and strive for optimal health and vitality.
Remember, building muscle takes time, dedication, and consistency. Commit to a fitness routine and watch your muscles grow! Your body will thank you for it in the long run.