iD magazine - - Body & Mind -

Re­searchers at Iowa State Uni­ver­sity have dis­cov­ered that you can pro­long your life through move­ment. In fact, it doesn’t mat­ter whether you run for 10 min­utes or half an hour—the most im­por­tant thing is that you reach a speed of at least 5.5 miles per hour. The re­ward? Three ex­tra years of life. But how is that pos­si­ble? We need to move to main­tain a healthy me­tab­o­lism. For ex­am­ple, if you are not mov­ing much, then you are not us­ing much of the sugar (glu­cose) in your blood. That is prob­lem­atic be­cause the pan­creas in­creases the pro­duc­tion of in­sulin when the blood glu­cose lev­els rise. The con­se­quence: Our cells get used to the in­sulin—and be­come re­sis­tant. Over time the cells no longer re­spond in a nor­mal way to the ac­tion of in­sulin. It’s a con­di­tion that doc­tors clas­sify as di­a­betes. But mov­ing reg­u­larly not only keeps glu­cose lev­els on an even keel—it also in­creases mus­cle mass. And that, in turn, leads to a markedly higher life ex­pectancy: An in­ter­na­tional team of re­searchers found that weak mus­cles can nearly dou­ble our risk of dy­ing. Even over­weight peo­ple have a longer life ex­pectancy if their mus­cles are de­vel­oped. Two stud­ies re­cently pub­lished in Bri­tish Med­i­cal Jour­nal have shown that mus­cu­lar strength is an ac­cu­rate pre­dic­tor of mor­tal­ity— even af­ter ad­just­ing for other fac­tors like heart health. For those with strong mus­cles, car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease and can­cer oc­cur less of­ten or later in life; their pos­ture is bet­ter and they fall less.

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