Get a Grip

By Margret Aldrich |

Your hand strength might be an indicator of your risk for cardiovascular problems.

According to a 2015 study published in The Lancet, grip strength is better than blood pressure at predicting your probability of heart-health problems.

Over four years, researchers at Ontario’s McMaster University tracked 140,000 people aged 35 to 70 living in 17 countries and found that weak hand-grip strength was a red flag for poor heart health.

Using a hand dynamometer for testing, researchers discovered that for each 11-pound decrease in grip strength, individuals had a 17 percent greater risk of cardiovascular death, 9 percent greater risk of stroke, and 7 percent greater risk of heart attack.

“Even after accounting for factors such as nutrition, physical-activity levels, and other medical conditions, hand-grip strength remains an important predictor of the risk of death and cardiovascular disease,” says Darryl Leong, PhD, assistant professor of medicine.

Leong believes grip strength is simply a reflection of overall strength, so he recommends “general exercise — not only restricted to the grip! — that includes both aerobic and strength training.”

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