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Women should worry more about muscle than fat for heart health

In the study, the researchers wanted to find out what plays a greater role in arterial stiffness (an indicator of heart health) in women: cardiorespiratory (heart and lung) fitness or body composition.

The study analyzed 146 women between the ages of 16 and 58. The participants’ cardiorespiratory fitness was measured using an exercise test, and the researchers also recorded their body fat percentage, lean mass index (a measure of lean tissue – like bones, muscles). and fluid) and mean arterial pressure (ie blood pressure in the arteries).

Next, these results were analyzed along with the participants’ arterial stiffness to see what associations (if any) stood out.

The two major factors associated with arterial stiffness were lean mass index and mean arterial pressure. In particular, higher lean mass and lower mean arterial pressure were both associated with lower arterial stiffness.

This persisted in the study regardless of body fat percentage, but older age was associated with arterial stiffness. That means the amount of lean mass (like muscle) you carry may play a bigger role in heart health than body fat or overall body weight, but age also plays a role (something to keep in mind, as women tend to do this). tend to lose muscle mass with age).

Muscle building through targeted lifestyle changes – e.g. B. Strength training and more protein intake – is a reliable way to increase your lean mass.

However, it’s important to remember that this study was an observational study, so we can’t know for sure that improving muscle mass always translates to better heart health.


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