If you want to live longer and stronger, grip strength should be a key part of your fitness plan. To put it bluntly, grip strength is life. Want to know how we arrived at that conclusion?
Research shows that grip strength is essential to decreasing all-cause mortality and increasing longevity, as weak grip strength has been linked to cardiovascular illnesses, diabetes, and other age-related diseases. The good news is that grip strength can be improved with targeted exercises and healthy lifestyle adjustments. Ultimately, by focusing on grip strength you can achieve better overall health and a longer life.
No matter what your current grip level may be, there’s always room for improvement – just ask Arnold Schwarzenegger. The Governator was known to have an iron grip when he was in office, but even he had to work to keep it Terminator-level strong through regular exercise. Some of the best grip-strengthening exercises include pull-ups (which improve not only grip, but also shoulder stability and core support), dead hangs (proceed with caution here to avoid overtraining or injury), squeezing hand grips or balls (which is very good for improving grip endurance), and bouldering.
Bouldering is a particularly good way to improve grip strength, as it helps strengthen the hands and arms while supporting coordination and balance. It requires a combination of grip techniques such as crimping, open-handing, and pinch grip, which all work together to develop muscular endurance – primarily in the fingers and forearms, but also in other parts of the body, such as the elbows, shoulders, and core. Bouldering also encourages you to climb with power moves that require greater grip-force production than traditional climbing routes. This means that you can achieve solid grip gains quickly. As always, safety should be first: just as important as placing those feet and fingers carefully on the grips, is not overdoing it with bouldering, so as not to get injured.
Get a Grip on the Right Diet for Strength
If you’re taking a holistic approach to improving that grip strength, remember that it isn’t just about the work you put in. It’s also about the right fuel to feed the machine, so don’t forget about your diet. Eating foods like salmon and avocado is key to increasing grip force production, as these wholesome sources of good fats contain essential nutrients like Omega-3 fatty acids, which promote joint flexibility and healthy muscle contraction. Upping your daily intake of fruits and vegetables is also useful for boosting grip strength, since these foods contain vitamins and minerals which help strengthen bones and reduce inflammation.
The reality is that having stronger hands really does lead to living longer – and this isn’t just some bro science. A 2019 study published in The Journal of Gerontology is one of the latest instances of research that has found higher levels of grip strength to be associated with lower risks of all-cause mortality compared to those who had weaker grips. And so, improving your grip now can make a huge difference later in life, as a strong grip has been associated by multiple studies with a reduced risk of falling, physical disability, and frailty, as well as cognitive decline, while minimizing future hospitalization costs and staving off the aforementioned mortality. If you make developing and maintaining grip strength a priority today, you’ll be glad decades from now.
In summary, there are many ways to improve grip strength, both through exercise and dietary choices. While it may seem like an insignificant factor in our day-to-day lives, having strong hands and forearms may contribute significantly to our longevity by helping reduce our risk of age-related illnesses later on in life.
Take some time out of your day today to focus on strengthening your grip. It could help you hang on for years into the future!
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