Wallis Simpson, the American divorcee for whom King Edward VIII abdicated the British throne back in the 1930s, is credited with saying, “No woman can be too rich or too thin.”
Well, ladies (and gents, too, for that matter), medical science tells us otherwise – at least when it comes to the “thin” part.
A recent study looked nearly 200,000 people 65 and older to see if being overweight increased their odds of dying. Surprisingly, it found that the folks at greatest risk of dying were the thinnest, while those at lowest risk were right in the middle of what’s considered overweight – people with a body mass index of 27 to 27.9 (BMI is a measure of body fat based on your height and weight).
So you know those last five or ten pounds we’re always trying to lose? We just may live longer if we hang on to them. Woohoo!
But another study (there’s always another study, right?) suggests that BMI is the wrong thing to focus on. Instead, maintaining our muscle mass to prevent frailty is much more important when it comes to the length and quality of our lives.
This study found that the one-quarter of participants (men 55-plus, women 65-plus) with the most muscle mass were significantly less likely to die than those with the least. So rather than trying to lose pounds, it’s more important to build and maintain muscle.
Which means that, alas, we’re not off the hook for staying in shape. In other words, regular exercise is still essential – aerobic activity for heart health, and strength training to help us build and maintain muscle mass.
So, I was just wondering…
Lifting weights is good
for preserving muscle mass.
Does hoisting wine count?
That’s a routine I think I can stick to.
What do you think?