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  • Writer's pictureStefan Cvijetan

Organ of Longevity: Muscle!

Longevity is an increasingly relevant and complex concept in today's society. It refers to the measure of an individual's or a population's lifespan, and the factors that contribute to living a long and healthy life. With advancements in healthcare, nutrition, and lifestyle choices, people are now living longer than ever before. However, longevity is not solely determined by genetics or medical interventions, but also by social, environmental, and behavioural factors.


As a result, understanding and promoting longevity has become a multidisciplinary field of study, encompassing various disciplines such as medicine, biology, sociology, and psychology. Exploring the intricacies of longevity can provide valuable insights into how we can all strive for longer, healthier, and more fulfilling lives.


Now when discussing longevity we need to define the terms of mortality and morbidity. As the goal in any discussion with longevity is that with little to no morbidity. Mortality and morbidity are two distinct terms used in the field of health and medicine.


Mortality refers to the occurrence of death within a population or a specific group over a given period of time. On the other hand, morbidity refers to the presence of illness, disease, or injury within a population or a specific group. It encompasses both the physical and psychological aspects of health problems and includes both acute conditions (such as infections or injuries) and chronic conditions (such as diabetes or heart disease). In summary, mortality refers to the occurrence of death, while morbidity refers to the presence of illness or disease. Mortality focuses on measuring the number and rate of deaths, whereas morbidity focuses on measuring the number and impact of illnesses or health conditions within a population.


This is valuable to note as in modern medicine although mortality has indeed significantly reduced with new technologies and medications, morbidities or co-morbidities (presence of two or more types of illness) are in an astronomical all time high.


So in a more positive turn let’s discuss why our best friend the layer of skeletal muscle in our bodies is often regarded as an organ of longevity. Muscle when appropriately cared for and utilized will in turn help us live longer and HEALTHIER lives!


Healthy muscle mass can promote fluid dynamics in several ways, leading to improved health and lower morbidities, ultimately resulting in longevity. Here are some explanations for this:


1. Improved circulation: Muscles play a significant role in promoting blood flow throughout the body. When muscles contract and relax during physical activity, they act as pumps, helping to push blood through the arteries and veins. This increased circulation ensures adequate oxygen and nutrient delivery to all tissues and organs, while also facilitating the removal of waste products. Efficient blood flow and circulation are essential for maintaining optimal health and preventing various diseases.


2. Enhanced lymphatic system function: The lymphatic system is responsible for removing waste, toxins, and excess fluid from the body. It relies on muscle contractions to propel lymph fluid through its vessels. Therefore, having healthy muscle mass can support the lymphatic system's function, aiding in the removal of metabolic waste and toxins, reducing inflammation, and boosting the immune system.


3. Regulation of blood pressure: Skeletal muscles contribute to regulating blood pressure through their involvement in the renin-angiotensin system. This system helps control blood volume and blood vessel constriction. Regular physical activity and maintaining healthy muscle mass can help regulate blood pressure levels, reducing the risk of hypertension and its associated morbidities, such as heart disease and stroke.


4. Improved insulin sensitivity: Muscle tissue is a primary site for glucose uptake and utilization. Having healthy muscle mass increases insulin sensitivity, which means the body can effectively

use insulin to transport glucose from the bloodstream into the muscles for energy. This reduces the risk of developing insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, as well as other metabolic disorders.


5. Increased metabolic rate: Muscle mass is metabolically active, meaning it requires more energy to maintain compared to fat tissue. Therefore, individuals with higher muscle mass tend to have a higher resting metabolic rate. This can be advantageous for maintaining a healthy weight and body composition, as it helps burn more calories even at rest. Obesity and excess body weight are associated with numerous health problems, including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and certain cancers. By promoting a healthy metabolic rate, muscle mass can lower the risk of these morbidities and contribute to longevity.


Overall, having healthy muscle mass positively influences fluid dynamics within the body. It improves circulation, enhances lymphatic system function, regulates blood pressure, increases insulin sensitivity, and boosts metabolic rate. These factors collectively contribute to better health, lower morbidity rates, and increased longevity.


Now what about the quality of motion in our muscles?


The quality of motion in muscles plays a crucial role in promoting longevity. Here are a few ways how it can impact overall health and contribute to a longer lifespan.


1. Joint health and mobility: The quality of motion in muscles directly affects joint health and mobility. Proper muscle function helps support and stabilize the joints, reducing the risk of injuries, such as sprains, strains, and fractures. Maintaining good joint mobility allows for a wider range of motion, making it easier to perform daily activities and engage in physical exercise. Regular movement and flexibility exercises help prevent joint stiffness, which can lead to limitations in movement and decreased quality of life.


2. Balance and fall prevention: Strong muscles and good muscle control are vital for maintaining balance and preventing falls, especially in older adults. Falls are a common cause of injuries and fractures in this population, often leading to a decline in overall health and independence. By improving muscle strength, coordination, and reaction time, individuals can reduce the risk of falls and related injuries, enhancing their longevity.


3. Posture and spinal health: Proper muscle function is necessary for maintaining good posture and spinal mobility. Weak or imbalanced muscles can contribute to poor posture, leading to musculoskeletal issues like back pain, neck pain, and spinal deformities. Chronic pain and spinal abnormalities can significantly impact quality of life and mobility. By promoting muscle strength, flexibility, and balance, individuals can support proper posture and spinal health, reducing the risk of musculoskeletal conditions and promoting longevity.


4. Metabolic health and weight management: Quality of motion in muscles is closely tied to metabolic health and weight management. Regular physical activity, including resistance training, helps build and maintain muscle mass, which has a higher metabolic rate than fat tissue. This means that having more muscle mass leads to a higher calorie-burning capacity, even at rest. By engaging in activities that promote quality muscle motion, individuals can improve their metabolic health, regulate body weight, and reduce the risk of metabolic disorders like obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases.


5. Mental well-being: Engaging in activities that promote quality muscle motion, such as exercise and physical activity, has significant mental health benefits. Regular physical activity has been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, enhance cognitive function, and improve overall mood and well-being. Mental well-being is closely linked to longevity, as it contributes to overall quality of life and promotes healthy aging.


In summary, the quality of motion in muscles is essential for promoting longevity. It influences joint health, mobility, balance, posture, spinal health, metabolic health, weight management, and mental well-being. By incorporating regular exercise and activities that promote quality muscle motion, individuals can enhance their overall health, reduce the risk of chronic conditions, and increase their lifespan.


So it is imperative this summer we opt for that walk, run or swim. Stay active and possibly hit the gym. Make sure to consult your health care provider or maybe even a friendly neighbourhood Osteopath. We know a thing or two.


Cheers to longevity!


Stefan & Family

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