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Get a Grip on Longevity - 1

Updated: Jan 13


  • Physical strength is a predictor of longevity.

  • Measuring grip strength is easy to do.

  • A large group may share a $20 grip strength meter.

  • There are no needles or other unpleasant sampling methods.



Grip strength has been proposed as a biomarker. Supporting this proposition, evidence is provided herein that shows grip strength is largely consistent as an explanator of

  • concurrent overall strength,

  • upper limb function,

  • bone mineral density,

  • fractures,

  • falls,

  • malnutrition,

  • cognitive impairment,

  • depression,

  • sleep problems,

  • diabetes,

  • multimorbidity, and

  • quality of life.


Grip strength is related concurrently to measures other than the strength of different muscle actions. Chief among such measures are those of activities involving the upper limbs, of which the hands are a part. Research by Wang and Chen supports this declaration. They identified cutoffs for grip strength needed by older adults

  • (18.5 kg for women,

  • 28.5kg for men)


Grip Strength and Mortality

Grip strength is a predictor of numerous future outcomes. Mortality is probably the most widely studied outcome, with studies published as far back as the 1980s72 and at least 3 meta-analyses supporting the association of weak grip strength with all-cause mortality in the general population.

In one of these meta-analyses Rijk et al summarized 22 articles addressing mortality. Their pooled hazard ratio for mortality for categorical variables was 1.79.73 (79% mortality increase)

In a more recent meta-analysis Wu et al consolidated the results of 40 studies addressing all-cause mortality.

  • They calculated a pooled hazard ratio 1.16 per 5kg reduction in grip strength.

In an even more recent meta-analysis, García-Hermosa et al. combined the results of 33 studies addressing all-cause mortality. They determined a pooled hazard ratio for a

  • reduced risk of mortality for higher versus lower levels of grip strength to be 0.69. This is a 31% reduction in all-cause mortality.

n addition to these meta-analyses, several recent large-scale studies have further reinforced the value of grip strength as a predictor of mortality in community-dwelling populations. These studies all involved over 1000 participants from each of several specific countries or regions: Japan;76 Russia;77 Denmark,77 the United Kingdom,7779 Korea,80 Norway,81 the United States,82,83 the Netherlands,84 Switzerland,85 Western Europe,86 and Taiwan.87 In the last of these studies, “malnutrition synergistically increased the mortality risk” in keeping with low grip strength.87

In addition to examining grip strength as a potential predictor of cardiovascular and cancer mortality, investigators have also shown the value of grip strength as a predictor of mortality in other pathologies. These pathologies include, but are not limited to,

  • rheumatoid arthritis in women (relative risk 3.0),96

  • type 2 diabetes in men (hazard ratio 0.90),97

  • pneumonia (odds ratio 0.97),98

  • renal disease (1.76 and 1.81),99 and

  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (hazard ratio 1.80).100

Rikkonen et al found grip strength to predict incident fractures (not corrected for bone mineral density) with hazard ratios of 2.0 and 1.3. Notably, both unipedal balance and squatting to the floor performance were more predictive of fractures and all 3 performance measures together were most predictive of fracture.113

The final predictive value of grip strength addressed herein is that relative to hospitalization. Simmonds et al examined the association between grip strength and the combined rate of hospital admission/death over the following 10 years.124 For a large sample of both men and women, lower grip strength was associated with a significantly greater risk of any emergency admission/death (hazard ratios 1.08 and 1.21) and any > 7 days admission/death (hazard ratios 1.14 and 1.20).

For women low grip strength was also associated with a significantly greater risk of any admission/death (hazard ratio 1.10) and any elective admission/death (hazard ratio 1.09). Cowthon et al, who followed a cohort of Americans over a mean 4.7 years, found that participants with the weakest grip strength had the highest risk of hospitalization.125 Notably, participants with the poorest knee extension strength, sit-to-stand times, and waking speed were also at a significant risk for hospitalization. In a large sample of Japanese individuals with type 2 diabetes, Hamasaki et al found hospitalization over a mean 2.4 years was associated significantly with grip strength (hazards ratio 0.96). The only variable they found to have a stronger relationship with hospitalization was HbA1c (hazards ratio 1.33).97

Not only are patients with weak grip strength more likely to be admitted to the hospital, they are more likely to experience complications while there. In a review referred to heretofore,4 weak grip strength was described as related to complications in patients undergoing surgery and in patients with cancer, hip fractures, and cirrhosis. In the study of patients with cirrhosis, grip strength was the only variable predicting a “significant increase in major complications.”126 More recent studies, not addressed in the review, have evinced a relationship between grip strength and complications/post-operative risk in patients undergoing surgery for abdominal cancer127 or elective cardiac surgery.128 A contemporary study of patients hospitalized for hip fractures showed their grip strength to be associated with a risk of pressure ulcers.129

What do hospitals do for sick patients with poor physical status? KEEP THEM IN BED!


Here is an excerpt from my book, "Health Freedom Lost," in the Energy Medicine chapter.

"In every culture and in every medical tradition before ours, healing was accomplished by moving energy."

Albert Szent-Gyorgyi

Exercise, regardless of your age and health status!


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