Netdoctor participates in various affiliate marketing programs, which means we may get paid commissions on editorially chosen products purchased through our links to retailer sites. Published: December, 2020. Historically, body mass index (BMI) has been used to help assess a person’s nutritional status, but it does not give an accurate picture of muscle health. People with low vitamin D levels can experience muscle weakness and low levels of vitamin D, particularly in the winter months, are not uncommon. So how important really is maintaining muscle mass as we age? New technology and innovations are making it easier to measure and the information is more accessible than ever. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. For example, athletes whose muscular physique misleads the scale could end up being erroneously classified as overweight. Invest in at-home workout equipment like dumbbells or stretch bands and build muscle right in your living room. Your muscle health plays an increasingly important role in strength, energy and ability to live a healthier, more active life. Our muscles play a vital role in our health at all stages of life, from allowing movement and balance to contributing to physical strength, organ function, skin integrity, immunity and wound healing. Running will curb muscle tissues, however jogging two-five miles an afternoon may not quite do it. People often don’t realise that weight loss isn’t always positive, as it could be a signal of muscle loss that’s critical to your overall health. We also need to think about their muscles. Her current work is focused on translating the findings from preclinical studies to human clinical studies to help improve nutritional products for adults. It has since then become the go-to way to assess people’s health. Exercise is beneficial for our heart’s health, especially as we age. The review showed that people with less muscle mass had more surgical and post-operative complications, longer hospital stays, lower physical function, poorer quality of life and overall lower survival. Making sure our body has enough vitamin D is also critical for healthy muscles. Muscle mass predicts health outcomes in cancer patients Learn how your comment data is processed. No worries if the gym crowd and CrossFit rage aren’t for you. You ought to get above eight miles an afternoon to quite see a change. It examined 140 recent studies in inpatient, outpatient, and long-term care settings. Excellent article. It is time to consider adding an assessment of muscle mass as a vital sign. She is also a co-inventor on over 80 filed patents. The researchers  found one common theme: muscle mass plays a huge role in health outcomes. There are a number of questionnaires that can be used that are specifically designed to help evaluate the physical function of aging adults. The National Institutes of Health provides a rough estimate of desirable body weight for height. She currently serves as the Abbott representative to the ‘FNIH- sarcopenia Biomarker Consortium’, a group dedicated to developing a consensus definition of sarcopenia and driving awareness. Conversely, others who have a normal BMI with very little muscle could appear in the “healthy” range, but actually have low muscle mass putting their long-term health at risk. As we age, we naturally lose muscle – once we hit 40 we can lose approximately 8 per cent of muscle per decade and this can almost double after the age of 70. As long as we can walk right…? A recent study published in BMJ found that a stronger hand grip strength was a better predictor than measurements like blood pressure or BMI in assessing a person’s risk of developing heart disease and overall mortality. Muscle Mass. Many people may think they should just increase the amount of protein they eat and that will help maintain muscle mass. If you're worried about your body mass index (BMI) and counting calories but still not seeing the fitness results you crave, it can be disheartening. Adequate nutrition and maintaining a balanced diet are great ways to support your muscle health. But after an injury, illness, or any prolonged period of inactivity, muscle loss can occur faster, leading to muscle atrophy. The consequences are greater weakness, poor balance, and even frailty. Opt for oily fish such a salmon and mackerel, eggs and fortified breakfast cereals to boost your intake. In fact, nearly 1 in 5 people have a misleading BMI, according to the CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. No worries if the gym crowd and CrossFit rage aren’t for you. Watson recommends the following to make the most of your health: Make sure you’re not just focused on burning calories with cardio. Knowing how important muscle is for both health and recovery, practical ways to measure muscle mass and function are essential. But what if we told you to throw away the scales and focus on a different aspect of body composition? Studies from the CDC have found that muscle-building exercise can also improve balance, reduce the likelihood of falls, improve blood -sugar control, and improve sleep and mental health. Muscle mass can impact a person’s strength, energy, mobility, and overall health. Patients ranged from trauma patients to individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Perhaps a lower sugar diet would be better. What is important is to avoid processed, sugary foods as much as possible and focus on … Her research is focused on evaluating nutritional therapies that can prevent muscle and strength declines due to sarcopenia, hospitalization and chronic diseases. So it’s important to do what we can to protect and preserve our muscles. Malnutrition is also muscle loss. Because BMI doesn’t account for someone’s muscle mass, it overlooks this important health indicator entirely. I am working on Sarcopenia in Indian Elderly . As you get older, you naturally lose muscle mass. If you’re unwell and cannot get enough nutrition through diet alone, multi-nutrient oral nutritional supplements are available, including those high in protein and vitamin D. How to choose the right protein powder for you, Introvert and extrovert personality types, 10 benefits of exercise that aren't weight loss, 15 best foods for weight loss that keep you full, Weight loss tips that work by a health coach, What to do if anxiety is affecting your work, This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. Knowing how important muscle is for both health and recovery, practical ways to assess muscle mass and function are essential. BMI first became popular in the 1970s as a way to assess the prevalence of obesity across large, diverse populations for tracking long term trends. The nice thing about muscle is it’s a forgiving organ – adults can easily replenish lost muscle through a proper diet with adequate protein and physical activity. One study of nearly 900 older adults published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found no link between BMI and mortality. Understanding muscle mass is one way to begin closing this gap. Yet for many, this simple math equation – dividing a person’s weight by the square of their height – offers an incomplete picture of health because it doesn’t take important health factors like muscle mass into account. So this research should compel doctors to make measuring muscle mass a priority when formulating their treatment plans for cancer patients. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at, 16 benefits of working out in the morning, Benefits of running: 17 reasons to hit the road, NetDoctor, part of the Hearst UK wellbeing network. This age-related muscle loss, also called sarcopenia, begins at … Muscle mass has also proven to be a strong predictor of health outcomes in cancer patients. BMI can only tell people so much about their health and is missing the full picture. Low energy, slower walking speed, decreased strength, unintentional weight loss, fatigue, and general weakness are all signs of muscle loss. Eating enough protein, the building block of muscle, is essential for healthy muscles. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Do I struggle to stand from a chair or carry objects. For the athlete, it’s a simple flaw of the measurement. Muscle plays a central role in whole-body protein metabolism by serving as the principal reservoir for amino acids to maintain protein synthesis in vital tissues and organs in the absence of amino acid absorption from the gut and by providing hepatic gluconeogenic precursors. The more we know about our body composition, the more we can take simple, educated steps to maintain a healthy and active life at any age. Just hold lifting three instances per week. Muscles play a vital role in health at all stages of life, from physical strength to wound healing.