Aging is an inevitable part of life, and while we cannot control the passage of time, we can influence how we age.
The terms “lifespan” and “healthspan” are often used to describe different aspects of aging, and understanding the distinction between the two is crucial for promoting a healthier and more fulfilling life.
Lifespan vs. Healthspan
Lifespan refers to the total number of years that an individual lives from birth to death. It is a fundamental measure of the length of time an organism exists in this world. Advances in medicine, improved living conditions, and public health efforts have contributed to an increase in human lifespan over the past century. However, simply increasing the number of years we live does not necessarily equate to a higher quality of life.
Healthspan, on the other hand, refers to the period of life during which an individual remains in good health, free from chronic diseases and significant decline in functional capabilities. In essence, healthspan represents the portion of life characterized by well-being, vitality, and independence. It emphasizes the quality of life experienced during aging, rather than just the quantity of years lived.
Muscles Role in Healthspan
The human body is inherently designed for a wide range of physical movements, encompassing pushing, pulling, jumping, squatting, lifting, running, and walking, all made possible by our muscles. However, when discussing muscle mass, the common association is often with lifting heavy weights in a gym setting.
Muscles are not only vital for movement, like lifting, but also play a critical role in many parts of the body. From breathing to temperature regulation to communication to metabolic regulation. Our muscles are a piece of the puzzle that play a huge role in what our healthspan will look like.
Interestingly, muscle mass tends to decline gradually, approximately 3-8% per decade after the age of 30, and this reduction becomes even more pronounced after reaching 60 years old. Instead of solely focusing on “getting bigger,” it becomes vital for individuals to embrace the mindset of maintaining muscle mass throughout their entire lives.
Deep Dive on Muscle Health