In new research from UCLA, male heart patients with the most arm and leg muscle and the least belly fat were 68 percent less likely to die of cardiovascular disease over seven years than thin guys with less arm and leg muscle.
The reason: Muscles promote better insulin function, which might play a role in slowing the development of heart trouble, according to the researchers.
While the UCLA study only measured the muscle in the participants’ limbs, your best bet is to focus on building muscle on your entire body. That’s because the better your body composition, the leaner you’ll ultimately be.
Muscle increases your resting metabolic rate, burning a higher amount of calories—and belly fat—around the clock.
And a healthy weight leads to a healthy heart. A 10-year Mayo Clinic study found that overweight people had heart attacks 3.6 years earlier than normal-weight people did. And obese heart-attack patients tended to be 8.2 years younger than normal-weight victims.