What turns fuel into motion, is self-healing, and grows stronger with training? Muscle! And if you’ve written, walked, or talked today, you’ve used a muscle. Did you know?
- There are three types of muscle. Our muscles are skeletal, smooth, or cardiac. Skeletal muscles are the ones you see when you flex in the mirror and the ones we can build through strength training. Smooth muscles are found in the digestive system, blood vessels, and airways and contract automatically. Cardiac muscles are only found in the heart and can be trained through cardiovascular exercises (i.e., walking, running, biking).
- Muscle is more compact than fat. You may have heard that muscle weighs less than fat. Not true! However, muscle is more compact, so a pound of muscle takes up less room than a pound of fat. Think of fat as a grapefruit and muscle as a tangerine.
- Muscle says, “Feed me.” Muscle is a metabolically active tissue, which means it demands more calories (or fuel) for support. This means the more muscle you have the more calories you burn for fuel rather than calories being stored as fat.
- Muscle lowers your risk for health problems. According to a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, people who lift weights are 37 percent less likely to have metabolic syndrome and diabetes. Muscle helps your body process blood glucose more efficiently, which helps lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Muscle is also associated with a smaller waist circumference, which is an indicator of lower LDL (bad) cholesterol, equaling a healthier heart.
- Use it or lose it. If you don’t use your muscles through daily activities and exercise, you will lose muscle mass. By age 80, a sedentary person’s muscle mass will be cut in half! This is the main reason our metabolism decreases as we age. We don’t have the muscle to burn calories. If you stay active, strength train, and perform cardiovascular exercise regularly, you can maintain your muscle mass and metabolism!
Looking to build muscle? Log on to the Signature Patient Website and check out strength training exercises and workouts, including pictures and videos. Not a Medi-Weightloss® patient? Click here to find a location near you.
This information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be an exhaustive examination of the subject matter nor a substitute for medical advice. Always consult your primary care physician or healthcare provider before beginning any diet or exercise program.