Recent research has suggested that men who are muscular in their teens might live longer than those with comparably weaker bodies throughout the same years.
The BBC reported last week that Swedish researchers had found a link between longer life expectancy and teenage fitness, but the findings only seemed to apply to men.
Researchers of the BMJ study kept an eye on over a million teenage boys over a period of about 24 years to determine what the link was between general fitness and length of life and found that 20 to 35 per cent of those who scored highly on the strength tests at the inception of the project were less at risk of early death from things like cardiovascular diseases.
It is to be stressed, though, that muscular strength and build is not a guarantee for a longer life. The link is between fitness and long life, as muscle power usually derives from general fitness and health.
The research also found a link between mental health and a good level of fitness. 65 per cent of the boys studied were less susceptible to mental conditions such as depression and schizophrenia and were found to be 20 to 30 per cent less likely to suffer death from suicide.
Those teenagers who had the weakest muscles (or lowest level of fitness) in the tests were found to be less likely to reach their 60s than those with good levels of strength and fitness.
The importance of being healthy
Life insurance expert, Andrew Watt, commented on the issue: “We all know how important it is to look after our bodies, not just for ourselves, but for our families when it comes to health, and this study just reaffirms that.
“Long term dedication to health and fitness is a sure fire way to live a more fruitful life and will leave your family at less risk of losing someone they love too early. We urge everybody to listen to the British Heart Foundation and stay healthy for as long as possible.”