- Reduced cardiovascular risk: Hand Grip Strength Significantly Predicts Cardiovascular Event Risk in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes.
- Reduced complications from surgery: Hand-grip strength is a simple and effective outcome predictor in esophageal cancer following esophagectomy with reconstruction: a prospective study.
- Reduced length of hospital Stays: Is grip strength associated with length of stay in hospitalized older patients admitted for rehabilitation? Findings from the Southampton grip strength study.
- All-cause Mortality: Grip strength predicts cause-specific mortality in middle-aged and elderly persons.
In another big study called The PURE Study, that tracked over 150,000 subjects over 17 different countries, found that each 11 pound decrease in grip strength over the course of the study was linked to:
- A 16% higher risk of dying from any cause
- A 17% higher risk of dying from heart disease
- A 9% higher risk of stroke
- A 7% higher risk of heart attack
I don’t know about you, but those stats are very interesting. What was even better was that they concluded:
- “Grip strength was a stronger predictor of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality than systolic blood pressure.”
As you have just read, these studies link good grip strength with lots of positive benefits. It is important to remember though that it is not the grip strength itself that is the proposed mechanism for improving health outcomes, but what good grip strength may suggest. It is thought that grip strength is a good indicator of overall vitality and robustness.
What does this mean? Well people who are generally fit and active, those who eat well and exercise regularly etc, are going be “healthier” and are more likely going to have better grip strength than people who don’t do those things. This is similar to the walking example I mentioned from an older blog post. Those who walk better and more freely are generally going to be in better shape and therefore “health”, than those who walk slowly and with difficulty.
Exercise is one of the key things here in regards to grip strength. If you are exercising regularly and lifting weights, you will more than likely have better grip strength than if you didn’t. It is a natural side effect. Good exercise can have all sorts of added benefits as well. I have written numerous blog posts on these. If you are interested, make sure you read some of them. Simply click on the "exercise" category to the right to find them.
What to make of this research
I love finding information like this. It is no longer okay to just check your blood pressure to see how “healthy” you are. I am not saying to never do it, but how about look at the bigger picture, and overall function. Think about, how well can you move. Can you walk briskly without trouble, can you bend and squat down without trouble, how is your grip strength? If you are finding trouble with these tests, maybe you should look into having them assessed and improving them. A great simple test to try is the Sitting-Rising Test (SRT), you can see it here in a previous post of mine.
If you think about these last few questions and find a few problems, make sure you give me or your health professional a call to see if we can help get you and your health back on the right track.