There are many questions about how bodybuilding influences longevity. Many people think that bodybuilding reduces life expectancy. But this is not true. The thing is that, bodybuilding used as a sport or used as fitness activity are two different things, as well as bodybuilding being used as exercise and for lifestyle, including nutrition and its quality.
If we talk about non intense weight training, this helps your body to regenerate, grow, stay healthy and to keep it functioning normally. We have all heard about the concept “If you don’t use it, you lose it”, and this can be applied to bodybuilding. If you exercise, your body will stay toned and healthy for much longer.
Any exercise is beneficial for your health. But the best option in terms of longevity is low-intensity cardio, like walking or jogging. But competitive bodybuilding can have serious health consequences. During competitions, people almost always go through a dehydration phase, so that you look even leaner, or drier. Becoming a top-level bodybuilder requires the use of powerful drugs, which have been linked to organ failure and even early death. Physical wear and tear such as collisions are said to be greater contributing factors to this.
There is also a difference between weight loss and weight gain workouts
When an athlete has a goal of gaining mass, he or she eats as much as the can. Many see modern day bodybuilding, as a combination of bulking and cutting. So, when you start bulking and increase your calorie intake majorly, this can be harmful to your health. Throughout life, carbohydrates enter into a Maillard reaction with protein amino acids and form the so-called AGE products, which reduce the strength of the extracellular matrix. The more calories you consume, the faster the strength of the extracellular matrix reduce. So, bodybuilding, on one hand, is beneficial because of physical activity which helps renew your cells. But if your goal is to build muscle mass and therefore you increase calorie intake, this way you can reduce your life expectancy due to AGE products formation.
There are other aspects, that should be taken into account. For example, any weight training increases cell sensitivity to insulin. As we get older, our sensitivity to insulin decreases and it becomes more difficult to feel full, which leads to overeating. When we overeat, our body’s start to produce more insulin due to the higher amount of consumed carbohydrates, which can cause diabetes. If two athletes exercise, and one does weight training, they are likely to live longer, because by exercising yourself with weight training, you can help to maintain normal levels of sensitivity to insulin.
There is also such a factor as periodization. Athletes increase their calorie intake for a certain period and then start their cutting phase with a low-calorie intake and a healthy diet. So there is a kind of compensation.
Bodybuilding doesn’t reduce life expectancy. If you have a regular program with light training in the gym, it can even increase it. And for sure, exercise makes you feel better, keeps your body and muscles strong and flexible, you have more chance to reduce and control high blood pressure, obesity, and high cholesterol levels this way.