Want to know the secret to living longer?
It’s all in the strength of your hand-grip! That’s right, according to new research, hand-grip strength can be used as a predictor for premature death, stroke, and heart disease. Specifically, the stronger your grip is, the less likely you are to die from one of the above.
Sounds ridiculous right?
Yet, this concept is apparently not new. Other past studies have also shown a correlation between grip-strength and risk for heart disease. In fact, the lead researcher on this latest study, Dr. Leong goes as far as saying “Grip strength could be an easy and inexpensive test to assess an individual’s risk of death and cardiovascular disease.”
So how good of a predictor is your hand-grip strength? According to the study, which tracked 140,000 adults (age 35-70) across the world for four years, they found that every 11-pound decrease in grip strength increased the risk of death by 16%. While the study did take into account other factors that might explain this difference (including physical activity), the correlation still held after controlling for them. Since I don’t have access to the journal, I couldn’t really dig any deeper than what the media has reported about it to verify all of this.
But let’s be real.
What use would it be knowing that you’re 16% likelier to die because you can’t grip something as strongly as you could in the past? Even the researchers who did the study admit that there is still no evidence that increasing grip strength would increase longevity. So even if you found out you were more likely to die because you lost grip strength, there’s nothing you could do about it. Therefore, until additional research on the topic surfaces, I fail to see this becoming a routine exam at the doctor’s office.