3 Ways Building Muscle Helps Metabolism, Bone Health, and More
One of the many changes that occur to women’s bodies during the menopausal transition is the loss of muscle mass. Women can lose up to half a pound of muscle mass every year of their menopausal journey. Regaining muscle mass after that transition is possible, but it can also be difficult to achieve for some women.
While you may not think that loss of muscle mass is very important — women especially are often discouraged from developing our muscles — it actually has a lot of health ramifications. Without enough muscle mass surrounding bones and joints, it becomes easier for fractures to occur, especially in women with osteoporosis or who are at an increased risk of developing osteoporosis.
But building muscle mass can do a lot more for your health than just protect your bones. Muscle mass can also help improve metabolism, maintain steady blood sugar levels, and much more.
More Muscle Means Higher Metabolism
Increasing the body’s muscle mass can help improve resting metabolism. The body is constantly expending energy during the day, in order to maintain all bodily functions, and gains this energy from food and stored fat cells. Without these sources, the body can’t metabolize compounds (mainly calories) into energy. Of course, an excess of calories and stored fats can make it harder for the body to turn them into energy.
One way to help improve the body’s resting metabolism is to build muscle. Muscle utilizes more energy from resting metabolism than fat. This means that the body has to burn through more stored fats if it can’t burn through calories received from a meal. This can improve the rate at which your stores and burns through fat. Which can lead to a healthier weight and improved cardiovascular health.
Muscle Mass Helps Lower Blood Sugar
One of the biggest dangers to anyone’s health is high blood sugar. Chronic levels of high blood sugar can lead to a lowered insulin response (insulin is a hormone that helps the body regulate blood sugar levels and dispose of excess glucose in the bloodstream). It can also increase the risk of diabetes.
Increased muscle mass helps improve the amount of glucose that the body disposes of. This can help your body better process glucose that gets absorbed into the bloodstream and regulates how much is passed in waste. This can help lower blood sugar levels, improve insulin response, lower the risk of diabetes, and help maintain cardiovascular health.
Muscle Can Help Maintain Heart Health
Muscle mass's impact on blood sugar doesn't just lesson your risk of diabetes — it can also improve your heart health.
High blood sugar can increase blood pressure. Here's how it happens: High sugar levels, especially fructose sugars, cause blood pressure to rise by inhibiting the release of nitrous oxide in blood vessels. Nitrous oxide helps blood vessels maintain their elasticity. Without enough nitrous oxide in blood vessels, they lose that elasticity. And when that happens, blood vessels cannot widen to allow blood to flow more easily through the body. When this happens, you have "high blood pressure," which puts a strain on the arteries and heart, which can lead to heart attack and stroke.
Because muscle mass can help lower blood sugar levels, it also keeps your blood vessels more elastic — which in turn means your heart will be healthier.
Find Ways To Maintain Muscle
Maintaining muscle mass can help support your health as you age. Finding ways to support muscle health is crucial to supporting overall health. Consuming enough protein, focusing on weight lifting and resistance exercises, and staying hydrated can help your body increase and maintain muscle mass more effectively.