Midlife Hand Grip Strength as a Predictor of Old Age Disability

An academic journal was written in 1999 entitled “Midlife Hand Grip Strength as a Predictor of Old Age Disability.” The cohort study was taken by the Honolulu Heart Program and the Honolulu-Asia Aging Study, with the first exam taking place from 1965-1968, the second from 1968-19, and the third and final study from 1991-1993. Initially, healthy men aged 45-68 participated in exam 1, making them age 71-93 by the time the third exam was taken. Grip strength was measured using a dynamometer at exams 1 and 2 to determine each participant’s average midlife hand strength. 

The idea to conduct the study arose from the fact that “poor muscle strength, functional limitations, and disability often coexist.” What was unknown was whether or not a person’s muscle strength during their middle age had any correlation to a person’s functionality in their old age. Researchers collected data from 6089 Japanese-American men living in Oahu, Hawaii, who were healthy at baseline between the years 1965-1970. 3,218 survived to take the disability assessment which took place from 1991-1993. 

Participants were divided into 3 categories: high grip strength tertiles, middle grip strength tertiles, and low grip strength tertile. The journal states that “Among healthy 45- to 68-year-old men, handgrip strength was highly predictive of functional limitations and disability 25 years later. Good muscle strength in midlife may protect people from old age disability by providing a greater safety margin above the threshold of disability.

In old age, decreased muscle strength predisposes people to functional limitations and disability. Cross-sectionally, muscle strength is significantly, but not linearly, associated with functional limitations such as walking speed. A minimum level of strength is needed to perform tasks. Conversely, when strength is well above the minimum required level, a reserve capacity exists. Reserve capacity serves as a safety margin that helps prevent functional limitations from developing, eg, following inactivity and deconditioning associated with surgery or an acute illness.”

This study proves that in order to continue to perform basic tasks and continue to walk at gait speed, you need to have a base amount of muscle and strength. Hand and grip strength, in particular, is important for day to day operations and household work. When you think about it, it makes sense that hand strength would have a direct correlation to health at older ages. Chances are, the stronger your hands are, the more active you are on a day to day basis. The people who keep themselves active and busy are often the people who live the longest. 

 

 

You don’t have to be a rock climber or a musician to care for your hands. We are living in a day and age where many of us work on our computers for extended periods of time, meaning that we are either typing or clicking for a good amount of our day. Keeping your hands strong will ensure that you will continue to be able to type for long periods of time, and also be able to go out and do all of your more laboring activities. The great thing about a product like the VariGrip is that it is portable and can be used while your sitting at your desk, driving, cooking, or whatever else you may be doing! 

The VariGrip works to improve hand and grip strength so that you can keep your functional ability as you grow older. No matter what, you are going to be using your hands frequently and on a daily basis. Why not keep them strong and healthy?

Find the full article here for more information:

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/