I would like to know if, excluding genetic reasons, as much muscles I have I'll live longer and avoid more disease.

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    I doubt there's a strong correlation to muscle mass per se, but staying fit enough to be active into old age can only be a good thing. Probably correlated with long life, though not necessary causal.
    – G__
    May 27 '16 at 5:03
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    I think there's a bigger correlation between the actions that lead to more muscles, and living longer. The act of training causes both muscle growth, and increases health.
    – Alec
    May 27 '16 at 8:10
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    Seems an interesting question, I do not understand why it was put on hold. scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode/…
    – BKE
    May 27 '16 at 13:28
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    @alec All right - I'm still concerned about scope match for the site, but I'll open it it up and let the community have a whack at it.
    – G__
    May 28 '16 at 20:22
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    Compare this question to this one Apr 3 at 23:21

Correlation - two events happening together (like observing if carrying lots of muscle and living long go often together) shouldn't be confused with causation (hyphotesizing the more muscle you have, the longer you live).

High protein, higher calorie diets, typical to people that carry lots of muscle, add strain to your liver and kidneys. Lifting heavy and often pushing the boundaries of your capabilities, leads to injuries and decreased mobility in the long run. Heavy lifting needed to build lots of muscle, forces high blood pressure.

If lifespan is your goal, regular exercise, healthy unprocessed food, plenty of sleep, avoiding injuries and stress and being generally happy is the way to go. Many of these factors are also necessary to build and carry more muscle - you can't get big and lean without living rather healthy (although "healthy" is very relative term). For some people, being muscular improves their self-esteem, which improves their lifestyle, happiness and this could have a major impact on life. But even if there is data to suggest that there is positive correlation with lifespan and amount of muscle you carry, it still would be just a correlation. It wouldn't mean that the muscle itself is somehow making you live longer.

In fact many of the most muscular people in the world - like professional bodybuilders and weightlifters die very young (30s to 50s). Needless to say there are other factors involved (like drugs) but compare that to professional swimmers or skiers or just people who are just light, live actively and not carry significant amount of muscle. It draws a different picture.

  • It changes a lot what I thought. So you're saying that the healthy unprocessed food, plenty of sleep and calm environment are essential to ensure longevity and the practice of exercise is just another factor that sum with those but not necessarily a more important one. And you said regular exercises, I imagine that the amount to not be considered sedentary is enough, right?
    – Jp_
    May 29 '16 at 15:13
  • In my opinion the muscle you carry does not give any direct benefit to your longevity. But humans are infinitely complex system of variables. If you have low self esteem and are depressed lets say - this could have major impact on your long-term health. Building muscle could improve your self esteem, that could help you find a great partner lets say, and all these things could add up to less stress, less disease and longer lifespan. But it's not a muscle itself, it's all the other factors.
    – ddinchev
    May 30 '16 at 10:01
  • So my argument is that muscle is often product of healthier lifestyle. And people who train to build muscle and have health-conscious goals, tend to have better lifestyle and health. But large amounts of muscle are not needed to live healthy. And actually probably striving to reach the goal of being very muscular has its own health risks. I don't have data to support this, just personal observations.
    – ddinchev
    May 30 '16 at 10:06
  • +1 There is correlation but maybe not completely direct correlation. Too many factors affect both.
    – John
    May 31 '16 at 7:44

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