There are many different health indicators that scientists, doctors, and your everyday average trainer use to judge how healthy you are or predict your longevity. One that has been used and proven in multiple studies time and time again is your grip strength.
Published in July 2015 in The Lancet, a longitudinal study done in 17 countries through varying cultural settings was conducted. A simple grip strength study using a dynamometer assessed mortality rates from cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, pneumonia, COPD, injury due to fall, and fractures. (1)
After a 4 year follow-up period and adjusting for certain variables, grip strength was a strong indicator/predictor of cardiovascular mortality more so than systolic blood pressure. In the areas studied there was no association between grip strength and diabetes or hospital admission due to pneumonia, COPD, injury from fall, or fracture.
The interpretation from the study is that grip strength is a great predictor of cardiovascular death/disease. The authors of the study suggested that more research needs to be done to prove whether muscular strength and improved muscle strength reduces mortality due to cardiovascular disease.
Past studies have in fact shown that strength training offers some unique benefits for the heart and cardiovascular system(2). Gone are the days where people think of jogging, cycling, and aerobics are the sole means to train your heart. Pick up some barbells and dumbbells today and benefit from this unique way to train your heart.
Have a great week,
- Prognostic value of grip strength: findings from the Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study Leong, Darryl P et al. The Lancet , Volume 386 , Issue 9990 , 266 - 273
- "Resistance exercise may offer greater benefits from the increases in blood flow to active muscles and could be implemented as companion to an aerobic training regimen," according to the new study, led by Scott R. Collier, Ph.D., of Appalachian State University, Boone, N.C.