Having more muscle won’t just make you look better – it may also save your life, according to research by a Dutch PhD student.
According to Jeroen Van Vugt, your muscle mass determines the likelihood of survival if you have to undergo surgery.
Muscle may save your life
Van Vugt used three separate studies to reach his conclusions about muscle mass and likelihood of surviving surgery.
First, he studied the data of just over 200 people who underwent surgery for an aggressive form of colon cancer.
Just under half of them had lost so much muscle mass, as a result of their advanced age, lifestyle and illness, that doctors diagnosed them with sarcopenia.
Among these people, complications after the operation seemed to occur more frequently. The physicians had to operate on these patients with reduced muscle mass a second time twice as often than patients with a healthy amount of muscle mass.
Van Vugt looked at a second, larger, group of 816 colorectal cancer patients, from whom doctors had removed organs affected by the cancer. The average age of the study participants was about 70 years.
Using scans, Van Vugt determined both the muscle mass and the muscular density of the patients.
Again, he noticed that those with less muscle mass experienced more problems than those with more.
The figure above shows that the study participants with a relatively high muscle density had greater chance of survival than the participants with a low muscle density. The difference was statistically significant.
In a third study Van Vugt collected previously published research on the correlation between muscle mass and the chances of survival of people who had a liver transplant.
For a third time, he noted that a relatively high muscle mass increased the chances of survival.
Exercise kills cravings for fatty food, new research
New research has revealed that exercise kills cravings for fatty food.
Researchers found that a rat’s desire to eat fatty food after a long period without eating was reduced if the rats performed high-intensity exercise.
The researchers undertook the study to investigate a phenomenon known as “incubation of craving”; basically, the longer you go without something, the harder it becomes to resist.
“A really important part of maintaining a diet is to have some brain power—the ability to say ‘no, I may be craving that, but I’m going to abstain,’” says Travis Brown, a Washington State University physiology and neuroscience researcher, in a university release.
“Exercise could not only be beneficial physically for weight loss but also mentally to gain control over cravings for unhealthy foods.”
Click here to read more about this amazing new research
“Of course, the loss of muscle mass is related to the disease these people have,” Van Vugt said in a press release.
“But their physical condition they had before they became ill is also a factor. A lifestyle with sufficient exercise, a healthy diet and a healthy weight will therefore not only help to keep you healthy now, but will also make you more resistant to life threatening diseases in the future.”
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