Muscled Boys Live Longer. [Study]

A strong, muscular physique isn’t just for show. As it turns out, stronger boys were found to live longer – even if they later became overweight as adults.

In a recent study, Swedish researchers tracked more than one million adolescents from ages 16 to 19 over a period of 24 years. Scientists used various exercises – like leg curls and push-ups – to determine each adolescent’s strength level.

Over the course of the study, 26,145 of the men died. The leading causes of death were accidental injury, suicide, cancer, heart disease and stroke.

According to the data, those teenagers who scored above average in terms of muscle strength had a 20% – 35% reduced risk of early death. When risk factors like obesity and high blood pressure were taken into account, the link between early death and adolescent muscle strength remained. Indeed, strong teenagers lived longer – even if they grew into overweight or otherwise unhealthy adults.

In the data, researchers found that strong adolescents had a 20% – 30% lower risk of suicide over the course of the study. Interestingly, strong teenagers were up to 65% less likely to have any psychiatric diagnosis including depression. In other words, it appears that physically weaker people may be more vulnerable when it comes to mental health.

On the flip side, the teens with the lowest level of muscular strength were the most likely to die before reaching middle age.

Researchers stressed that their findings don’t mean that building muscle – in an of itself – extends your life. Instead, muscular strength can be a good indicator of overall fitness levels.

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  1. I’m not sure this is particularly inspiring news.
    I think it just bolsters the evidence that youth have a hard time, and being strong/ fit/ hot makes things easier in those tough years. 5-10 years of people telling you’re a looser, week, ugly, lame, a geek etc… will undoubtedly affect people over the course of their lives.
    It may be a bit of a leap; I feel like this study shows that highschool/colege jocks live longer.

    • Completely agree with you.

    • The problem with studies like this is they are far too broad and contain so many variables as to be utterly worthless. I tend to agree that it simply points out a facvt without isolating causes and effects targeted by cause, i.e., those who DO work out and buff up may be those who had more opportunity to do so, were healthier to start with, and less subject to harassment, bullying, etc,, and of course we all know the findings about pretty people being more popular, more successful, happier.

  2. Jeff Sykes says:

    An easy (and most plausible) explanation for the effect is that those who were able to build muscle better pay attention to their bodies more and seek better medical attention when abnormalities arise.

  3. I find this post to be disturbing due to the fact I myself am coming out of my teens and I don’t have one of those “All American Guys” body types. In truth I am probably one that closely belongs in the “lowest level of muscular strength” category standing at 155lb, 6 foot for a male. On the flipside I am currently a university student in Canada, I’m studying to be a councilor, I eat well when given the chance, I hold a healthy relationship with my boyfriend, but I have no time to do any effective workout because of my studies. And yet when this posting tells me that in spite of all that I will die before my middle ages because I am simply not muscular.

    I agree with Jason’s post when he points out the addition to the problems of youth. As I have just come out of high school myself not to long ago those problems mentioned are still fresh in my mind. If you were not a part of a sports team or if you were just to “nerdy-looking” you were looked down upon and made fun of, these people will carry those comments with them for the rest of their, according to this post, “short” lives. As informative as this posting is, in my mind all it does is add oxygen to the fire by promoting that classic jock look that teens should aspire too if they want to live past 50.

    • Jacob, the post doesn’t say that if you don’t work out, you wont live past your middle ages. It simply states a fact: If you live a healthy life, and take good care of your body, you have a greater chance of living longer.

  4. C’mon guys, you have to pay attention that this is a correlational study, and therefore it doesn’t imply causation. Just as being stronger may cause people to lead healthier lives and live longer, it could be just the opposite, namely that healthier people tend to work out more in the first place, but would live longer just as well. I’m not saying this study doesn’t mean anything. Far from it. It is one more evidence that exercise is somehow related to wellbeing.