For Teen Boys, Muscles May Mean Longer Life

But researchers caution that building muscle mass doesn't increase lifespan
By Liam Carnahan,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 25, 2012 6:05 AM CST
Teenage boys with strong muscles may live longer.    (?)

(Newser) – It apparently pays to be strong. A new study out of Sweden finds that teenaged boys with above-average muscle strength have a better chance of living longer compared to those with lower levels of arm and leg muscle strength or a weaker grip, reports the BBC. Researchers analyzed nearly one million military conscripts over 24 years, and found that those in the "above-average" category at the start of the study had a 20% to 35% lower risk of early death.

Even muscular overweight men fared better than thinner men with weaker muscles. It may not be purely physical, either—stronger boys had a lower risk of death from suicide, and were less likely to develop psychiatric issues like schizophrenia or depression. But a professor cautions that the study doesn't mean that beefing up your muscles will translate into a longer life. "Sadly the trials of an intervention to increase exercise have not shown notable benefits, though that does not discourage me and many others from exercising."

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