Aside from tones muscles, building muscle mass benefits your health in lots of ways.
Many of us set goals for getting healthier, whether it’s hitting the gym, revamping our diets, or embracing a more active lifestyle. But this fitness goal might not be on your radar: building more muscle.
Certified nutritionist and founder of Motherline Nutrition, Tanna Fox, shares why, especially for women over 40, this isn’t just about achieving a six-pack or toned arms – it’s about longevity.
Find more health advice from Tanna on Instagram, @motherlinenutrition.
6 Benefits of Building Muscle Mass
The Overlooked Key to Longevity: Muscle Mass
Beyond the aesthetic benefits, building and maintaining muscle mass becomes increasingly important as we age. Forget the stereotypes of bodybuilders; this is about laying the foundation for a healthier, more resilient future.
The Downside of Inaction: Osteoporosis and Sarcopenia
Tanna shares what happens when we neglect muscle health, citing osteoporosis (bone density loss) and sarcopenia (muscle loss). As we age, the rate at which we lose muscle accelerates. Unlike some aspects of our health, muscle mass doesn’t sustain itself – it requires deliberate effort to build, sustain, and maintain. The payoff? Prevention of long-term health issues and a key to aging gracefully.
Muscle Mass & Metabolism
Tanna debunks the myth of a slowed metabolism with age, and explains the correlation between muscle mass and metabolism. A pound of muscle can burn about 60 calories a day, compared to two calories from a pound of fat. It’s a metabolic boost that goes beyond age-related slowdowns and relies on the power of lean muscle mass.
Protein, Carbs, and the After-Burn Effect
Tanna explains the after-burn effect – the sensation of heat during and after lifting weights, signifying microscopic tears in the muscles. To optimize repair and growth, you’ll want a post-workout intake of protein and complex carbs. Tanna encourages women not to be afraid of carbs, but to see them as a building block to transform muscle mass effectively.
Fast Twitch vs. Slow Twitch Training
Tanna introduces an interesting concept often overlooked: the importance of incorporating both fast twitch and slow twitch muscle training. While fast twitch muscles enable quick bursts of energy (ideal for lifting heavy weights), slow twitch muscles sustain longer activities like running or swimming. A balanced approach ensures over all muscle development.
Fueling Immunity and Lowering Stress
Tanna says that a robust immune system and reduced stress are unexpected benefits of building muscle. The mitochondria and cells within lean muscle mass contribute to fortifying the immune system. Additionally, the physical act of caring for and strengthening our bodies helps with mental clarity, reduced anxiety, and the ability to move pain-free.