Muscle power likely to help you live longer: Study

Rio de Janeiro: Want to increase your longevity? If yes, then speed up your weight-lifting routine as a new study suggests muscle power might be key to long life.

The study, presented at the EuroPrevent 2019 in Lisbon, indicates that power depends on the ability to generate force and velocity and to coordinate movement.

“Rising from a chair in old age and kicking a ball depend more on muscle power than muscle strength, yet most weight-bearing exercise focuses on the latter,” said study author Claudio Gil Araújo, Professor at Exercise Medicine Clinic — CLINIMEX in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

“Our study shows that people with more muscle power tend to live longer,” Araújo said.

For the study, the team enrolled 3,878 non-athletes, aged 41-85 years, who underwent a maximal muscle power test using the upright row exercise between 2001 and 2016. The average age of participants was 59 years, five per cent were over 80 and 68 per cent men.

The highest value achieved after two-three attempts with increasing loads was considered the maximal muscle power and expressed relative to body weight. Values were divided into quartiles for survival analysis and analysed separately by sex.

During a median 6.5-year follow-up, 247 men (10 per cent) and 75 women (6 per cent) died, according to the study.

Muscle power start decreasing after 40 years of age.

“We now show that power is strongly related to all-cause mortality. But the good news is you only need to be above the median for your sex to have the best survival, with no further benefit in becoming even more powerful,” said Araújo.

The researchers suggest multiple exercises for the upper and lower body, weight with the load to achieve the maximal power (not so easy to lift and not so heavy that you can barely lift it) may increase muscle power.