elderly kettlebell exercise to increase muscle strength for longevity

Muscle Strength: Increase Life Longevity with Strength Training

Increasing muscle strength can increase your life’s longevity. In the pursuit of a longer, healthier life, focus often falls on increased physical activity and maintaining a wholesome lifestyle. While these are undoubtedly vital aspects, recent research illuminates a crucially overlooked factor: muscular strength. Muscle strength is distinct from muscle mass, and independent of cardiovascular health. The strength of your muscles plays a significant role in influencing your risk of mortality.

Muscle Strength vs Muscle Mass

Muscle strength refers to the maximum force generation capabilities of a muscle or muscle group. It typically expressed as a 1 repetition maximum. In other words, muscle strength means how much you can lift.

Muscle mass refers to the total cross-sectional area of a muscle or muscle groups. It refers to the size or “volume” of muscle that you have. Having a greater muscle mass does not necessarily mean that you will have more muscle strength.

Today, we will explain the association between muscle strength and living longer.

The Critical Link Between Muscle Strength and Life Longevity

A recent study has uncovered a significant association between muscular strength and overall mortality and disability as we age (Li et al., 2018).  The research indicates that the decline in muscular strength is more strongly associated with mortality and disability in older ages (Li et al., 2018). Therefore, this suggests that having greater muscle strength leads to a lower death rate in US older adults.

In a different study using grip strength as a measure of muscle strength, researchers determined that grip strength can risk-stratify individuals into groups for: all-cause death, cardiovascular death, and cardiovascular disease. They find that “low grip strength is associated with higher case-fatality rates in people who develop cardiovascular or non-cardiovascular disease” (Leong et al., 2015). This suggests that people with lower grip strength has increased fatality rates. To learn more about this study, see our article on grip strength.

In another study, it is found that the aging process leads to a distinct muscle mass and strength loss (Keller & Engelhardt, 2013). This means that by increasing muscle strength, it results in a higher baseline from which muscle strength can decrease. Thus, with increased muscle strength, it can lead to longer life longevity.

Why You Should Do Strength Training

As greater muscle strength has been associated to a longer life, strength training is important to increase muscle strength.

It is found that muscular strength in older age is heavily influenced by peak strength values achieved in earlier life stages (Landi et al., 2020). Therefore, it is beneficial to start a strength training program earlier in life, building a substantial “buffer” against the effects of aging.

However, even if you start strength training later in life, it can counteract age-related declines in muscle strength, even in advanced years (Guizelini et al., 2018).

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends that “all healthy adults aged 18 to 65 yr need moderate-intensity aerobic (endurance) physical activity for a minimum of 30 min on five days each week or vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity for a minimum of 20 min on three days each week” (Haskell et al., 2007). Furthermore, the ACSM also recommends muscle-strengthening physical activities “to improve their personal fitness or further reduce their risk for premature chronic health conditions and mortality related to physical inactivity” (Haskell et al., 2007).

In summary, it is important to start strength training as soon as possible to build muscle strength. The increased muscle strength can lead to a longer life.


The association between muscular strength and mortality serves as a poignant reminder of the intricacies of human health. It prompts a shift in our perspective on leading an active, healthy life. Current research highlights the importance of promoting and maintaining muscular strength to increase your life’s longevity (Li et al., 2018). 

If you are wondering how to increase muscle strength, schedule a free consultation with us today. We create personalized plans for muscle strength for any age and fitness level.


Li, R., Xia, J., Zhang, X. I., Gathirua-Mwangi, W. G., Guo, J., Li, Y., … & Song, Y. (2018). Associations of muscle mass and strength with all-cause mortality among US older adults. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 50(3), 458.

Keller, K., & Engelhardt, M. (2013). Strength and muscle mass loss with aging process. Age and strength loss. Muscles, ligaments and tendons journal, 3(4), 346.

Leong, D. P., Teo, K. K., Rangarajan, S., Lopez-Jaramillo, P., Avezum, A., Orlandini, A., … & Yusuf, S. (2015). Prognostic value of grip strength: findings from the Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study. The Lancet, 386(9990), 266-273.

Guizelini, P. C., de Aguiar, R. A., Denadai, B. S., Caputo, F., & Greco, C. C. (2018). Effect of resistance training on muscle strength and rate of force development in healthy older adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Experimental Gerontology, 102, 51-58.

Landi, F., Calvani, R., Martone, A. M., Salini, S., Zazzara, M. B., Candeloro, M., … & Marzetti, E. (2020). Normative values of muscle strength across ages in a ‘real world’population: results from the longevity check‐up 7+ project. Journal of Cachexia, Sarcopenia and Muscle, 11(6), 1562-1569.

Haskell, W. L., Lee, I. M., Pate, R. R., Powell, K. E., Blair, S. N., Franklin, B. A., … & Bauman, A. (2007). Physical activity and public health: updated recommendation for adults from the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association. Circulation, 116(9), 1081.

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Josh Langkamp

Josh is a highly skilled and committed strength and conditioning coach with a wealth of experience in physical performance enhancement and optimization. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology from the University of Alberta as well as a CSCS certification from the NSCA. His perspective is enriched by his background as a boxer and his love of sports like football and hockey. Josh places a strong emphasis on individualized care and thinks that the secret to reaching objectives is well-planned exercise. Josh is a dependable guide for improving athletic performance and fitness, with aspirations to advance in his physiotherapy career.