Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Over-Fat Or Under-Muscled?

Did you know that the skeletal muscle system is the largest organ in your body? It comprises approximately 40 percent of your body weight. The obesity problem in America results partly from muscle deficiency. Muscle deterioration leads to mind/body deterioration systemically, affecting all of your bodily functions. Perhaps we're not over-fat as much as we're under-muscled. 

Folks, I can't stress it enough: Lifting isn't about aesthetics. Your muscles account for so much more than that. It is your body's largest endocrine organ and as such it determines a great deal about your health and aging. But someone says, "I know people who lived to be 100 and never spent a day in the gym or lifted a single dumbbell. A lot of gardening history, though." This proves the point. They weren't lifting weights but they were performing weight-bearing exercises. And yet not once has my doctor ever told me, "Have you ever considered lifting weights?" As someone who has seen the ravages of sarcopenia (muscle loss) in my peers, I can testify that very few things can diminish one's quality of life more than decreased strength and impaired mobility. The aging population is told to slow down, take it easy, and a lot of other nonsense "experts" say about aging. Don't buy it. No, I'm not perfectly fit at the moment, but I am probably more fit now that I was in my 30s and 40s and I don't think I'm close to reaching my peak yet. 

It's very simple. People lose strength when they lose muscle. From here diseases start to settle in because movement becomes too complex and too stressful. I wish I had known about the importance of muscle building and strength training earlier in life. It is SO important that you, my reader, understand how muscle building can counteract the negative contributions of visceral body fat. I recently went in for my annual cardiologist's check up. Almost every male patient I saw there had a huge belly and skinny arms. It seems to be an epidemic among middle aged and older men. When asked, I tell them about the benefits of strength training and proper nutrition. Sadly, I find that when I mention exercise, the majority of them switch off and don't want to know anything more. And most of them are younger than me. It's not a secret, folks. People age so much faster when living a sedentary life. Eat the right things, move around a lot, and pick up heavy things. Sadly, people just don't want to do it. 

I am glad to see so many young people at the gym these days. I think they're beginning to see the problems with our current American lifestyle of spending days in front of a screen. So they've started exercising. People want to feel healthy and alive again. Healthy muscle mass is as important as cardiovascular health. Translated to all modes of exercise, cardio is important and so is resistance training. It's not one or the other, it's both. The problem nowadays is that most people seriously lack any semblance of discipline and won't leave their comfort zone for even 5 minutes. The Bible teaches that we need discipline for everything. We need discipline to read our Bible every day. We need discipline to pray regularly. We need discipline to go to the gym consistently. We need discipline to be consistent with our diet. Unfortunately, I think this is a problem that is going to get a lot worse before it gets better. 

Friend, muscle is important, especially as we age. Muscle mass is one of the most important things we can do to prevent medical conditions. And don't get me started on diet. I've been to Korea 6 times and only saw an overweight person once, not including Americans. You don't see obesity worldwide like you do in America.  Easy access to junk food is literally killing us. If you keep eating SAD (Standard American Diet) it won't matter how often you go to the gym. You can't out-exercise a poor diet. Anyone with a waist-to-height ratio over 45 percent needs more weight training and far less eating of the wrong foods. 

How about we inspire critical thinking again. How about we finally acknowledge that people in America lose muscle mass because they are sedentary. The benefits of resistance training are well documented. I don't agree with those who say that the muscle is THE organ of longevity. But is it a very important organ.