A recent study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health found an association between muscle mass in healthy men and 10-year risk of fatal or non-fatal heart attack or stroke. Men with the highest levels of lean muscle at the start of the study period had an 81 percent lower risk of having a heart attack or stroke in the next 10 years then those with the lowest levels. A similar relationship was not seen in women. This prospective cohort study included 1,019 participants aged 45 years and older living in Greece who did not have cardiovascular disease (CVD) at baseline. Results remained significant even after adjusting for other factors, such as education, socioeconomic level, smoking, physical activity, adherence to a Mediterranean diet, blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol levels, and obesity.
Muscle mass begins to decline over age 30 and this decline is associated with a number of negative health outcomes, including disability and higher mortality rates. Participating in weight-bearing exercises, such as weightlifting or body-weight exercises (like push-ups, crunches, and leg lifts) are an important part of maintaining muscle mass, mobility and health.