The truth about big calves and how it's an essential sign you're super healthy | The Sun

BIG calves are definitely not a beauty feature everyone desires.

But thicker lower legs could be a sign of good health.

Until now, BMI – body mass index – has been considered a cornerstone of good health.

The dated method, which calculates whether a person is a healthy weight, is still hailed by the Government and NHS doctors alike.

But now, scientists from China have discovered measuring the size of someones thighs could be a better way to tell how healthy they are.

The study, published in BMC Public Health, found people with wider calves (above 30cm in circumference) had a lower risk of early death.

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This is not the first time thick calves have been linked to good health.

A 2008 study of 6,265 people found, those with bigger calves had fewer fatty deposits known as plaques built up in their arteries.

This means they have a lower risk for carotid artery disease, and strokes, regardless of age, sex or BMI.

The French scientists thought this may be because big calves allow the body another place to store excess fat that could cause problems lurking in the bloodstream. Turns out it's not just muscle in there!

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On the flip side, chunkier calves are associated with liver issues, specifically nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

The condition, which sees fat build up around the liver, is usually seen in people who are overweight or obese.

Having high levels of fat in your liver is also associated with an increased risk of serious health problems, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney disease, the NHS says.

Since calves can store lots of fat (which mask as muscle) Chinese scientists found that larger calf muscle circumference was linked with more fat build-up.

The size of a person’s calves could even be used to screen for this liver condition.

Find more about what the size of your legs means for your health here.

How to build you calves

But it can be tricky to increase the size of your calf muscles.

In fact, the fitness community considers calves to be the most stubborn muscle group in the body.

This is because factors like genetics and age are believed to have a big impact on how big your calves can even get.

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Healthline outline a few steps you can take to strengthen and build your calves.

  • Running, walking, and hiking are excellent calf-strengthening exercises
  • Incorporate calf raises when you walk on stairs

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