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The truth about muscle mass and longevity: if you want to live longer, you must get stronger



Let’s talk, yet again, about skeletal muscle mass (SMM)!

If you follow Functionize, you know by now we do not believe in a passive approach in therapy. We don’t stop at simply helping people get out of pain; we believe in wellness for life, preventing future injury, and fighting off disease!

“How can you know that what you do ACTUALLY supports those claims?”

That's a GREAT question!

The proof is in the pudding, and next to all the amazing results we’ve seen in our patients, our other favorite flavor happens to be well-documented research:

- Muscle Mass & Strength Fights of Death from ALL Causes, Including Cancer:

Ruiz Jonatan R, Sui Xuemei, Lobelo Felipe, MorrowJames R, Jackson Allen W, Sjöström Michael et al. Association between muscular strength and mortality in men: prospective cohort study. BMJ 2008; 337 :a4

- Exercise and Athletics Makes us More ‘Immune’ to Pain:

Assa, Tal & Geva, Nirit & Zarkh, Yoni & Defrin, Ruth. (2018). The type of sport matters; pain perception of endurance athletes vs. strength athletes. European Journal of Pain. 23. 10.1002/ejp.1335.

- Muscle Mass Prevents Disability:

Janssen I, Heymsfield SB, Ross R. Low Relative Skeletal Muscle Mass (Sarcopenia) in Older Persons Is Associated with Functional Impairment and Physical Disability. J Am Geriatr Soc: 2002 May; 50(5): 889-896.

“Okay, so that’s some pretty compelling evidence, but how do you measure that?!”

“INBODY!” *crowd cheers loudly*

The InBody is a device that helps clinicians actually measure what matters. Here is a meme to help you understand:

Still unsure? No problem, here’s a personal story to make this more relatable.

From 2016-2018, I found myself in a place I had never been: out of shape, dealing with frequent pain, working myself too hard, and searching for relief.

After months of frequent head & neck pain, I found myself at my physician's office (shout out Dr. Nick Beaulieu at Highland Urgent Care & Family Medicine). He prescribed some much needed supplements based on my blood work and suggested I do an InBody scan.

This was the first time I had ever done this and, to my surprise, I found my SMM fell below my age-related norm. He told me he would really like to see me above 50%, meaning more than 50% of my body weight needed to be muscle.

After seeing these results, I decided to take control and focus on the objective measures I knew I could influence. Sometimes, when we have nebulous symptoms that we don’t feel like we can control or change, all we need to do is focus on the measures we know we can influence. For me, this meant more strength training.

InBody became my litmus test, if you will, to measure my progress. I committed myself to the journey and, sure enough, after a year – yes, one whole year – I retested and found myself to be above 50%.

The kicker? My pain was nowhere to be found. You see, after a while the pain became an afterthought. Because I stopped focusing on chasing a symptom and began chasing measures that matter, the thing I was initially worried about disappeared.

This was a powerful experience for me and I believe it to be a phenomenal tool that can help all of us!

InBody scans are now a routine part of our practice to help our clients gain objective measures concerning what they can control to improve their situation regardless of the issue.

Isn’t that wonderful!?

Now that you know the “why” and the “how,” it's time to get down to “doing.”

Come in for an InBody scan and regain control!

Thanks for reading, and don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions!

Jake Reynold, PT, DPT, OCS

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