Seniors May Benefit More from Muscle

iStock_000010740731XSmall-300x199.jpgIs it more important to lose fat or gain muscle? It takes special care to achieve either goal - and achieving both would be ideal – but a new study suggests that seniors may see a better benefit from maintaining or building their muscle mass than from decreasing their body fat. (Although, again, having both more muscle and less fat is generally even better.)

A New Study

Recently published in the American Journal of Cardiology, “Relation of Muscle Mass and Fat Mass to Cardiovascular Disease Mortality” was written by a trio of researchers from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.  This was a retrospective examination of data from more than 6,400 people.

The doctors looked at all of these individuals and then grouped each of them into one of four categories:

  • Those with low muscle and low fat mass
  • Those with low muscle and high fat mass
  • Those with high muscle and low fat mass
  • Those with high muscle and high fat mass
Not surprisingly, the people who had high muscle mass and low fat mass had the smallest risk of cardiovascular mortality.

The researchers found that increased muscle mass in general is a better predictor of cardiac health than low fat mass. That means, for example, that a person who could stand to lose a little in the gut but who has a body with decent muscle mass is more likely to have a healthier heart (all other things being equal).


This supports many studies which indicate that appropriate exercise can have a significant positive effect on a person’s health. Seniors may need to take special care to ensure that an exercise program can benefit them, so checking with a doctor in advance of starting a new exercise regimen is recommended. Resistance training (also called strength training) can often be accomplished in one’s own home.

It’s worth taking special care to maintain one’s health, and even people of advanced years can participate in an exercise routine that is designed to fit their particular need​s.

Related Article
Fitness Tips for Aging Parents with Limited Mobility​​ -​


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