It can be frustrating when you can’t get that jar of pickles open, or you’re dropping things because you just can’t get a handle on them. Doctors say your grip strength can provide some crucial insight into your overall health and aging.
Dr. Ardeshir Hashmi, a Geriatric Medicine Doctor with Cleveland Clinic, said people who have better grip strength age more slowly.
"We call it sort of immunosenescence. Your immune system also benefits from having good grip strength. So your ability to bounce back from disease – any type of disease. We saw this in COVID a lot. And the third would be prevention of frailty," he said.
Dr. Hashmi said weak grip strength can indicate faster aging. It can also be a warning sign for having a higher risk of chronic diseases and even a shorter life expectancy. He said grip strength can tell you so much because it’s a good marker of a person’s overall body strength and ability to fight off infection.
Dr. Hashmi said grip strength can start declining around age 50, so you should start exercises before then to maintain it. He recommends squeezing a racquetball or squash ball for at least 10 minutes, twice a day.
He also said you need to exercise your entire body, but make sure you don’t overdo it.
“Any sort of weight-bearing exercises, you've got to be careful not to tax your spine, not to tax your knees with any of these things, and also not to think that you have to do two hours of this every day. You don't need to do it two hours every day. The research tells us quite literally 10 minutes every day. The 'every day' part of it is the most important thing, which outweighs everything else," Dr. Hashmi said.
He also said following a healthy diet and getting enough sleep are also needed to maintain good health as you age.