Why Muscle Mass Is Important

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Many people focus only on cardiovascular exercise at the gym.  While “cardio”, as it is often referred to, is great for your heart, cholesterol, blood pressure and helps burn calories, strength training is also an essential component of a balanced fitness program. It can slow the muscle loss that comes with age, build the strength of your muscles and connective tissues, increase bone density, cut your risk of injury, and help ease arthritis pain. It prevents osteoporosis and other problems. It also improves balance, reduce the likelihood of falls, improve blood-sugar control, and improve sleep and mental health.

There are three different types of muscle in the human body: Cardiac muscles, smooth muscles and skeletal muscles.

Cardiac muscles, as the name suggests, are found only in the heart where they line the walls and work to pump blood throughout our bodies.

Smooth muscles line some of our most vital organs including the stomach, esophagus and the bronchi of the lungs as well as the walls of blood vessels. Their primary purpose is to rhythmically contract in order to control organ function such as moving food through the esophagus or expanding the lungs when breathing.

 

Skeletal muscles refer to muscle mass. These attach directly to our skeletons and contract to facilitate movement. Sometimes known as voluntary muscles, we have direct control over them and they shape and grow as we develop muscle mass and tone. The benefits of muscle mass:

 

Weight management:

Bigger muscles require more energy and in turn burn more calories. Muscles are essentially the engine room of the fat and calorie burning machine so the bigger and stronger they are the more efficiently can they do their job.

 

Increased insulin sensitivity:

One of our muscles’ primary functions is storing glucose from the bloodstream as glycogen. These glycogen stores are then called upon for fuel every time we need to move a muscle. Therefore the more muscle mass we have, the better they are at grabbing glucose from the bloodstream.

 

Decreased injury risk:

The larger the muscles around our joints and bones, the less likely we are to injure them. This layer not only protects against breaks and dislocations but as our tendons and cartilage grow stronger with our muscles, we also become less susceptible to sprains and tears.

 

Increased immunity:

As muscle tissue is the only place that the body can store amino acids, muscle mass plays a huge role in strengthening our immune system. Maintaining a healthy muscle mass then provides your immune system with the vital chemicals it needs to keep you healthy and free from illness.

My upcoming blog articles will discuss the various muscle groups in the body and strategies to help muscle gain. 

 

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