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Muscle and longevity - what you need to know about the engine of everyday life

Musculature - pumps for health and longevity

This MoleQlar article is about our muscles. Our muscles are true marvels of nature and at the same time the driving force behind our movements and agility. Whether we're running, jumping, reaching, or simply straightening up - all of these actions would be unthinkable without our muscles. But how much do we actually know about this impressive type of tissue? Let's take a fascinating look at the muscles of the human body, their functions and their importance for our daily lives.

What is musculature?

The human body has more than 600 muscles. These muscles serve to produce movement, support posture, and enable vital functions such as pumping blood and breathing. The muscles of the human body are divided into three main categories: Skeletal Muscle, Smooth Muscle, and Cardiac Muscle.

The skeletal muscles are the ones responsible for external movement and control of posture and account for about 40% of body weight. The smooth muscles are located in the internal organs and cannot be actively controlled by us, while the cardiac muscles surround the heart and enable the rhythmic contractions that pump blood throughout the body.

Kettlebells, weights and co.
Kettlebells or dead weight training are the ideal tools to gently strengthen our muscles.

Why is our musculature so important?

Our muscles enable us to move, walk, run, jump and perform many other activities. They are the engines that drive our bones and joints and allow us to explore the environment and actively participate in life.

In addition, our muscles play a crucial role in maintaining good posture and stability. They support the spine, keep our body upright and help maintain balance. Strong muscles can reduce back pain and prevent injuries. Muscles are also very metabolically active, which means they burn calories even when at rest.

The more muscle mass we have, the more efficient our metabolism is, which in turn contributes to a healthy body weight. Muscle also helps regulate blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of metabolic disorders such as diabetes. But that's not all!

Indeed, our muscles are also closely linked to physical strength and performance. A well-trained musculature enables us to perform powerful movements, lift weights, overcome resistance and perform sports activities with greater ease and efficiency. But a strong musculature has not only physical, but also psychological benefits.

Regularly exercising muscles can reduce stress, improve mood and increase overall well-being. In addition, healthy muscles help prevent injuries, osteoporosis and age-related muscle loss (sarcopenia). Therefore, it is enormously important, especially with regard to healthy aging, to maintain muscle mass as much as possible.

Is there such a thing as too much muscle if you want to age healthily?

Yes, there is a limit to how much muscle mass you should have to support healthy aging. Too much muscle mass can actually have negative effects on health.

Excessive muscle mass can lead to increased strain on the cardiovascular system. The heart has to work harder to supply the larger muscle apparatus, which leads to an increased cardiac load and a higher risk of heart failure.

Although paradoxical, an overly muscular physique can be the cause of joint problems and increase the risk of injury. This is because the joints have to bear the additional weight and strain of the muscles, which can lead to faster wear and tear and pain.

It is important to have a healthy and balanced muscle mass percentage that suits your physique and activity level. Regular exercise and strength training can help maintain muscle mass and improve the body's functions, but excessive muscle growth is not necessary for healthy ageing.

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What is the ideal workout for the muscles?

The ideal workout for muscles can vary depending on individual goals, physical condition and preferences. However, there are some general principles that should be considered when training muscles effectively.

Progressive overload

To achieve muscle growth, you need to challenge your muscles regularly by increasing the load. This can be done by increasing the weight, the number of repetitions or the intensity of the workout.

Resistance training

Strength training with weights, resistance bands or your own body weight is an effective way to build muscle mass and increase strength. Exercises such as squats, bench press, deadlift, shoulder press and rowing are good options to target different muscle groups.

Full body workout or split routine

There are different approaches to muscle training. A full-body workout that targets all major muscle groups on one workout day may be beneficial for beginners or those with limited time. A split routine, where different muscle groups are trained on different training days, can be an option for advanced exercisers to do more specific work on individual muscle groups.

Sufficient recovery

Muscle growth does not take place during training, but during the recovery phase. Give your muscles enough time to recover and regenerate between training sessions. Plan rest days and make sure you get enough sleep and eat a healthy diet to promote recovery.

Variation of the exercises

By varying the exercises, you can target different muscle fibers and add variety to your workout. Experiment with different exercises, repetition ranges, sets and training methods to challenge your muscles and progress.

Technique and shape

Be sure to maintain proper technique and form during exercises to avoid injury and maximize the effectiveness of your workout.

Man sit ups sport abdominal muscles

What role does muscle play in longevity?

Muscle plays an important role in the longevity and health of the human body. As already mentioned, muscle tissue is metabolically very active. Therefore, muscle burns more calories than fat tissue, even at rest.

A higher percentage of muscle in the body increases the basal metabolic rate and thus supports the maintenance of a healthy body weight. This is positive because overweight and obesity are associated with an increased risk of many chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and certain cancers. So always aim for a normal body weight, and having good basic muscles can help a lot.

Another reason is directly related to your muscles, because regular stress on the bones through muscle activity stimulates bone growth and increases bone density. This helps prevent osteoporosis and bone fractures in old age. It is at this stage of life that many suffer a fall or bone fracture, often with significant complications.

Naturally, good muscle strength and function ensure greater mobility, balance and flexibility. As a result, you remain more independent in old age and can carry out everyday activities without restrictions. Finally, it should be noted that muscles also play an important role in glucose metabolism. They absorb glucose from the blood and utilize it as an energy source during contraction.

Regular physical activity and muscle building improve insulin sensitivity, which helps control blood glucose levels and reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes. This is also where Berbersome - the berberine mineral complex from MoleQlar!

Here you can learn more about insulin resistance!

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How can you optimally support the musculature?

In addition to training, creatine creatine has a positive effect on our muscles. Creatine is a substance that occurs naturally in the body and plays an important role in muscle energy metabolism. Taking creatine supplements can increase physical performance, especially during intensive and short-term activities such as strength training. However, carnosine, betaine, omega-3 fatty acids and other dietary supplements could also have a positive effect in this context.

Here learn more about the molecule creatine!

Conclusion

Muscles support the metabolism, increase bone density, promote functional independence in everyday life, improve insulin sensitivity and regulate hormonal processes. Regular physical activity and a balanced diet are key to maintaining and strengthening muscles. In addition, certain dietary supplements such as creatine, collagen, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D can have a supportive effect.

Literature

  • Pedersen BK. Which type of exercise keeps you young? Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2019 Mar;22(2):167-173. doi: 10.1097/MCO.0000000000000546. PMID: 30640736.
  • Gremeaux V, Gayda M, Lepers R, Sosner P, Juneau M, Nigam A. Exercise and longevity. 2012 Dec;73(4):312-7. doi: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2012.09.012. Epub 2012 Oct 11. PMID: 23063021.
  • Murach KA, Dimet-Wiley AL, Wen Y, Brightwell CR, Latham CM, Dungan CM, Fry CS, Watowich SJ. Late-life exercise mitigates skeletal muscle epigenetic aging. Aging Cell. 2022 Jan;21(1):e13527. doi: 10.1111/acel.13527. Epub 2021 Dec 21. PMID: 34932867; PMCID: PMC8761012.
  • Avin KG, Coen PM, Huang W, Stolz DB, Sowa GA, Dubé JJ, Goodpaster BH, O'Doherty RM, Ambrosio F. Skeletal muscle as a regulator of the longevity protein, Klotho. Front Physiol. 2014 Jun 17;5:189. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2014.00189. PMID: 24987372; PMCID: PMC4060456.
  • D'Onofrio G, Kirschner J, Prather H, Goldman D, Rozanski A. Musculoskeletal exercise: its role in promoting health and longevity. Prog Cardiovasc Dis. 2023 Mar-Apr;77:25-36. doi: 10.1016/j.pcad.2023.02.006. Epub 2023 Feb 24. PMID: 36841491.

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The graphics were purchased under license from Canva.

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