(WETM) – Having a strong grip isn’t just important for getting the lid off a stubborn jar. Grip strength can also provide crucial insight into your health.
“People with better grip strength age more slowly. Having a good grip strength can slow the process of immunosenescence, or the decline in your immune defense associated with aging,” explained Ardeshir Hashmi, MD, a geriatric medicine specialist with Cleveland Clinic. “It can also improve your ability to bounce back from diseases, or homeostenosis. Finally, it can prevent frailty.”
According to Dr. Hashmi, a weak grip strength can indicate faster aging. It can also be a warning sign for having a higher risk of chronic diseases – even a shorter life expectancy.
He explained 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, and people should start exercises before then to maintain it.
He recommends squeezing a racquetball or squash ball for at least 10 minutes twice a day.
Dr. Hashmi stresses people must remember to exercise their entire body as well but don’t overdo it.
“With any weight-bearing exercise, you have to be careful not to tax your spine or knees. You don’t have to exercise for two hours every day,” Dr. Hashmi said. “The research tells us that 10 minutes of exercise per day can make a difference. Doing something every day is the most important thing.”
Dr. Hashmi adds following a healthy diet and getting enough sleep are also needed to maintain good health as you age.