Mend Physical Therapy Blog and Injury Information

Greater Muscle Mass In Middle Age Reduces Risk For Future Cardiovascular Disease

January 20, 2022

Resistance training remains a foundational intervention for all of our patients at our Boulder Physical Therapy practice. Previous research has highlighted the importance of strength training for all individuals from children to older adults. Authors have noted a significant decrease in cardiovascular risk factors among individuals with higher amounts of muscle mass. These correlational studies are not able to draw a cause and effect relationship but researchers have shown a consistent relationship between heart health and skeletal muscle mass. For example, more fit individuals with higher amounts of muscle mass may be less likely to be diagnosed with heart disease for other reasons besides their muscles. A new study recently looked into the relationship between muscle mass and future development of cardiovascular disease.

Authors followed over 3000 middle aged adults without cardiovascular disease over a ten year period (Tyrovolas et al. J Epidem Comm Health. 2021). Participants underwent baseline testing including anthropometric measurements that were utilized to estimate fat free or muscle mass. Over this 10 year period 1/4 of the participants were eventually diagnosed with cardiovascular disease. The authors found an inverse relationship between a middle age adult’s baseline muscle mass and their future onset of cardiovascular disease. Specifically, individuals with the greatest amounts of skeletal muscle mass were 81% less likely to develop cardiovascular disease compared to their peers with the least amount of skeletal muscle mass.

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