Importance of Muscle Mass
Importance of Muscle Mass
The most common incentive for working out and building muscle mass is due to aesthetics, however, there are many more important reasons why you should want to build muscle and lift weights!
Muscle Mass helps Manage Blood Sugar Levels
Carbohydrates get broken down into glucose and stored as glycogen in your liver and muscles. Once your liver and muscles are filled, glycogen will get converted into lipids and stored as fat mass. Your liver can only store a finite amount of glycogen, however, the more muscle mass you have the more glycogen you can store. Furthermore, weight training increases your body’s ability to store carbs in the muscle cell.
Muscle Mass helps Control Body Fat
Muscle mass is a very metabolically active tissue compared to fat mass. The biggest determinant of your basal metabolic rate is how much muscle mass you have. Two people with the same weight can have different body compositions, meaning one has 20% body fat versus the other having 30% body fat. The individual with less body fat will have a higher metabolic rate, and therefore will be able to consume more calories without gaining weight.
Muscle Mass helps Build Strength
Someone new to working out and lifting weights may notice increases in strength before an increase in muscle mass. Strength gains usually proceed changes in muscle mass, since your nervous system adapts to the stimulus of training before hypertrophy changes occur. The more functional muscle mass you have, the more activities of daily living you can perform. When it comes to aging, we want to preserve our functional independence for as long as possible.
Muscle Mass Supports your Joints and Builds Bone
Resistance exercise places tension on your bones and stimulates muscle growth in addition to an increase in bone density. Note that nutrition plays a huge role in repairing muscle and stimulating bone density. Amino acids, calcium, magnesium, vitamin D and vitamin K in addition to the training stimulus will help build strong muscles and healthy bones. Furthermore, muscle protects your joints. Not only do you increase muscle mass via strength training, but you also increase strength in your ligaments and tendons. In combination, strength in tendons, ligaments and muscles will contribute to joint support and prevent injuries, falls and fractures.
Muscle Mass Increases your Emotional Well-Being and Self-Confidence
Working out and seeing the changes in your body composition or physique can increase one’s self-confidence. Achieving a personal best in a lift, or accomplishing a new movement like your first bodyweight pull-up can provide you with the confidence outside the gym that you can do difficult things! Often times an increase in physical strength can correlate with an increase in mental strength. Your resilience and overall mood increase.
Starting at the age of 25, muscle mass can start to diminish. From ages 40-70, muscle loss averages around 8% per decade and after age 70, this can increase to 15%. Studies have shown that the loss in muscle mass can be slowed and even reversed in some cases. You can’t escape the loss of muscle mass, however you can delay it.