Mobility is often cited as a key indicator of healthy aging because it allows older adults to remain independent and active for longer periods 1. A new study shows that one way to find out if mobility has not diminished is to measure grip strength.
For everyone, a better grip
This latest study is similar to other research. Grip strength has been increasingly regarded as a key indicator for healthy aging, both for men and women.
A 2019 study in Clinical interventions in Aging found that grip strength is an indicator of overall strength. There are also correlations with bone mineral density, upper limb function, and fracture risk. Grip strength is also related to brain health, depression, nutritional status, and other factors. 3
The analysis found that significantly lower grip strength than the norm was associated with physical limitations such as less walking ability for at least 6 mins. 3
In Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics another study compared grip strength and mobility impairment and found strong correlations. 4
Because strong grips require a certain amount of muscle force, this connection is possible. This is because a strong grip requires a certain amount of muscular force.
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Exercises to Increase Grip Strength
Grip exercises can provide benefits such as a greater range of motion for the wrists, hands, and bones, as well strengthening connective tissue.
While increasing strength can lead to improved grip, it’s better to focus on grip.
ROCKY SNYDER, CSCS
Rocky Snyder, CSCS strength and conditioning coach, is the author of Return to Center, a strength training guide that focuses on grip. “While boosting strength can lead to improved grip, there’s a benefit in focusing specifically on grip [including improving bone density].” These are some of Snyder’s suggestions for starting:
- Ball squeeze : Take a tennis ball and squeeze it hard for 30 seconds to one minute. You can do several sets per day.
- Plate pinch : Combine two 5-pound plates. Hold the plates by your sides and pinch them with your thumb and forefinger. Go for a walk to see if you can keep the plates from sliding off your fingers.
- Farmers carry: Grab a heavy dumbbell in one hand, and take a stroll. Continue walking until you lose your grip.
- Dead hang – Simply hang from a bar with chin up for as long as you can. Maybe start with 15 seconds, and work your way up to more holds several times per week.
Doing finger and palm stretches and fists daily can reduce strain and improve grip strength.
This post was written by Darryl Johnson, Co-Owner of Apex performance. At Apex performance we are a community of highly trained experts looking to provide performance enhancement and a permanent lifestyle change for our clients in a fun and interactive environment. Members can take advantage of one-on-one training, small group classes and specialized courses for a wide variety of athletics, sports training and body goals! Click Here to learn more!