The key to longevity is not some strange habit from some lost tribe in the Amazon forests, nor does it require exhausting diets and running every day! 

The key to health and longevity is not some strange habit from some lost tribe in the Amazon forests, nor does it require exhausting diets and running every day!

But let's start this article a little backwards, focusing on the paradox of obesity.

So called because it has been observed that in a proportion of people, obesity is not accompanied by negative health indicators.

Worse still, research has shown that obese people have a higher chance of surviving serious illnesses and, understandably, losing weight can dramatically reduce their chances of survival.

I bet especially the last one, not many of you have heard of it. And that's because it doesn't fit in with the nice wraps that the "fitness" industry, dietitians and doctors offer you. Let me sound like a conspiracy theorist, that's the truth, isn't it?

Here is an extreme example:

Patients who are overweight have higher survival rates after sudden cardiac arrest compared to normal and lean people, and significantly so (obese people have lower rates than overweight people, but still much higher than others).

And before you think I'm advising you to eat mindlessly and get fat, I'm going to disappoint you. This does not contribute to longevity.

Well, recently a study came out which came to the following simple conclusion:

Previous research that said that people with a higher BMI had a better chance of surviving serious illnesses was correct, but this was because they had more muscle, not because they were overweight because of fat.

And an even more recent one with the same conclusions, but specific to cancer.

This latest research is an excellent introduction to something I wanted to touch on anyway in the future.

Let me explain, from a fitness point of view, what is thought to contribute to the increase in mortality probabilities:

  • Poor cardiorespiratory fitness (inability to climb a few flights of stairs without heavy panting)
  • Excessive exercise (more than 5 hours of intense activity per week)
  • Dynapenia/Sarcopenia

While I'm sure many of you hadn't heard of the 5 hours a week, let's just say we're OK so far. Yeah? Great.

In short, the latest research only confirms what we (those of us involved in the science behind fitness) already know, which should be the primary goal in your training:

Muscle strength is the key to longevity.

Sources/bibliography/more reading:

Excessive exercise, mortality and recommended amount of exercise:

New research (01/05/2018): strength training and longevity:

New research (03/05/2018): poor cardiorespiratory fitness (<4 METs), BMI, and the obesity paradox:

Dynapenia, sarcopenia and mortality:

More targeted towards the male population:

Subscribe to our newsletter

We will send you periodic updates with only the most important scientific developments in fitness, physical health and nutrition.

We also offer special subscriber savings and privileged, early access to our products.

We do not send spam! Read our privacy policy for more details.

Author: Nick Krontiris

Founder, Suprastratum


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Αρέσει σε %d bloggers: