older man working out

Your Muscle Mass Could Help Fight Covid Faster

Meet with a medical professional for a health evaluation and he or she might raise the subject of the pandemic. Your vaccination status, prior exposure to the virus, and the rise/drop in cases in your community might be discussed. The doctor might even reference a popular study circulating throughout the medical community as recently detailed in the Journal of Cachexia Sarcopenia and Muscle. This study reveals individuals with more muscle strength and muscle mass spend comparably less time in the hospital after contracting coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.

Study Details

The study noted above analyzed nearly 200 patients, one-half of whom were male and the other half of whom were female. This study referenced prior research that revealed both muscle mass and handgrip strength strongly indicated disease severity and the length of time one would remain hospitalized for illness. The researchers’ focus then shifted to differences in the context of COVID-19.

The measurement of muscle size and handgrip strength, specifically in the vast lateral muscle within the thigh set the stage for researchers to group the study participants into both low and high segments. Of the nearly 200 study participants, slightly less than 180 survived their stay in the hospital. The average BMI of the study participant was 29.5. The average age of the participant was just under 60.

Study Results

The strongest study participants as gauged by handgrip had the shortest hospital stay, spending an average of slightly more than a week in the hospital. Those with less handgrip strength averaged slightly more than nine days in the hospital. This trend also held in the context of muscle mass. The average stay in the hospital for individuals with low muscle mass was slightly longer than 10 days. Those who had a comparably high muscle mass spent an average of nearly eight days in the hospital.

Why the Study is Important

The key takeaway from the study detailed above is the fact that muscle mass is a strong indication of an individual’s overarching health and wellness. Individuals with significant muscle mass are that much more likely to bounce back from a critical illness including the contraction of coronavirus.  

If you are looking for additional research centered on strength in the context of combating illness and preventing a lengthy hospital stage, shift your sights to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition as referenced in the study above. The moral of this story is it is in your interest to eat healthily, consume muscle-building protein and continue lifting those weights as you age. The muscle you build today just might save your life in the years and decades ahead as COVID-19 continues to morph into new variants and new health threats arise.