Muscle building adolescents live longer lives

Photo Credits: Sam Bakhtiar

A prospective cohort study done over a Swedish population recently revealed adolescents with signs of high muscle strength lived longer than their lower strength counterparts. The study was done using 1,142,599 Swedish males age 16-19 followed over a 24 year period measuring strength with knee extension, handgrip, and elbow flexion tests to see the correlation to premature death, pre-age 55.

Baseline measurements of aforementioned strength exams as well as blood pressure and BMI were taken at the start of the study. After the 24 year period, 26,145 participants, 2.3%, died. From the sample, 22.3% died from suicide, 17.9% from cancer, and 7.8% from cardiovascular disease.

Participants were grouped into tenths for muscle strength per test for analysis. Higher muscle strength was associated with 20-35% lower risk of premature mortality independent of BMI and blood pressure. Suicide risk was 20-30% lower as well having any psychiatric diagnosis was 15-65% lower in these individuals. Extrapolated to per 100,000 years, mortality rates were 122.3 for the weakest tenth of participants and 86.9 for the stronger tenths.

Pulling all together, it seems that higher muscle strength in adolescents has a correlation to lower risk of death before age 55. From this, staying active over the next year could be a great Christmas present to give oneself.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays everyone. Stay informed, live well.

Francisco B Ortega, Karri Silventoinen, Per Tynelius, Finn Rasmussen. 2012. Muscular strength in male adolescencts and premature death: cohort study of one million participants. BMJ.


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