What Does My Grip Strength Reveal About My Health?
Most people think grip strength is only appropriate for a firm handshake, but it is not valid. Medical researchers have proved that grip strength is a predictive indicator of your entire health. For this reason, many occupational therapists, Chiropractors, and Physiotherapists use handheld dynamometers to measure your grip strength. They evaluate your grip to assess your present health condition.
In this article, we are going to talk about the significant association between grip strength and overall health conditions. Your grip strength reveals your muscle endurance, cognitive behavior, cardio-vascular conditions, mind-body coordination, and much more.
Before talking about how grip strength reveals your health condition, we would like to define grip strength clearly.
What is Grip strength?
Before we dive into the vitality of grip strength, you need to know what is it and how it can be measured. Grip strength is quite similar to hand strength, and it is evaluated by assessing the muscle health of your forearm and hands. Grip strength is measured by a handheld dynamometer and calculated in Kilograms, Newtons, and Pounds. Here you need to squeeze the handheld dynamometer to your fullest potential. The process is done about three times for each hand to get an accurate result.
The average grip strength for men is around 72.6 pounds, and for women, it is about 44 pounds.
If your grip score falls below the above-mentioned measurement, it could be a predictive indicator of poor health conditions. However, grip strength gradually reduces with aging because our muscles also get weaker. However, grip strength measurements can’t be considered as the pain thresholds. However, there are many different ways; grip strength reveals your hidden physical complication, which should be treated as soon as possible.
Grip strength & its significant associations
Measuring grip strength has become an inevitable assessment procedure in Physiotherapy. When a patient comes to him for his hand-related complications, his first line assessment is measuring his grip strength to know about his forearm muscle condition. They use highly sensitive physical therapy equipment to track grip strength. It can track subtle changes in grip strength. Physiotherapists use grip strength as an indicator to measure the progress as a result of physiotherapy treatment on patients. A good amount of grip strength indicates that patients are benefitted from the implemented physiotherapy, while a weaker grip implies the alteration of treatment is required.
Heart health or Cardiovascular health
Grip strength is a strong indicator of your cardiac health. Harvard Medical School reviewed that a reduced grip strength of about 11 units is associated with an almost 17% high chance of stroke or cardiac illness. Nearly 7% of people die from heart attacks.
Researchers perform their study on more than 140,000 adults considering other external factors like age, gender, physical state, medication, and bad habits like smoking, and it has been clearly revealed that weak grip strength is a strong indicator of having a stroke.
It reveals how strong your body is
Yes, counts of grip strength reveal your overall health stamina. In most cases, grip strength is the initial element that limits people in their gym while performing resistance training. It is because your grip strength regulates how much weight you can lift in your resistance training program. That’s why it is necessary to strengthen your forearms before starting core strengthening exercise or resistance training. You can lift more weight with a strong wrist, hands, and fingers. Grip strength is also important for a high-intensity weight loss program.
It decreases the risk of injury
Having adequate grip strength reduces the chance of injury due to repetitive stress. It prevents injury while doing high-intensity resistant training. The risk of injury is increased with age; however, we must consider other relevant factors as well.
Sports persons, rock climbers, and other athletic persons work on their grip to make them strong before starting their core workout to avoid long-term injury.
Grip strength promotes shoulder strength & improves function
When you’re carrying a heavy load by either of the sides, you’re engaging your shoulder to stabilize the upper body. Grip strength offers enough stability to your shoulder. Mainly improving grip strength also diminishes the shoulder-related complication caused by overuse and carrying a heavy load.
How can the grip strength be improved?
For this, you have two basic options:
- The putty grip exercise
- Exercise using a hand gripper
Putty grip exercise is the basic level exercise that can be done by children, young, and older people as well. When you squeeze a putty, it engages all muscles of your hand, including your thumb. Putty is very soft, so it doesn’t limit the range of motion. You get the opportunity to manipulate the putty as much as possible. This activity increases your grip strength and dexterity and modifies the coordination between fingers and thumb. Experts suggest you do it in 2 minutes with a minimum of 10 reps.
For the advanced level of grip strengthening, use the hand squeeze exercise tool.