I’ve always been the go-to jar opener in my house. If my wife couldn’t get something open, she knew she could bring it to me and I’d most likely be able to get it. It made me feel strong, but there’s more to having a strong grip than meets the eye.
Scientific studies have proven that your grip strength is a direct indicator of your risk for significant health problems.
Past studies have linked grip strength to:
• Heart attack
• Loss of mobility
• Decreased longevity
• Lower chances of survival if you get cancer
And a recent study is shedding more light on the link between your health and your grip strength.
The study by Michigan Medicine at the University of Michigan found that for every 0.05 decrease in normalized grip strength you have a:
• 49 percent increased odds for diabetes
• 46 percent increased odds of hyperglycemia (too much glucose in your bloodstream — a precursor to diabetes)
• 15 percent increased odds of high triglycerides
• 22 percent increased odds of low HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol that helps protect your heart)
• 19 percent increased odds of hypertension
• 36 percent increased odds for disability status
Who knew that being able to open a jar of pickles was so important?
Get out a tightly sealed jar and test yourself. Can you open it easily? Or do you struggle and need someone else to get it open?
If you struggle, the time to start working on your grip strength to reduce your risk of future health problems is now.
There are a number of ways you can do it.
The easiest one I know of is to grab one of those stress balls and squeeze. Keep one sitting next to you at your desk or by the couch where you watch TV so you will remember to use it regularly.
Other ways to strengthen your grip include:
• SandBells — These are neoprene bags filled with sand. To use them, simply grab the center of the SandBell and hold it up for a few seconds and then switch it to the other hand. Since the sand is constantly shifting, your grip has to change with it, strengthening those tiny muscles in your hands and fingers.
• Kettlebell Walk — Hold two kettlebells of equal weight (one in each hand). Squeeze your hand tightly around the handle with your arms hanging at your side. Walk for one minute as you continue to squeeze. As a bonus, once you no longer feel the pressure in your hands, you can move up to heavier kettlebells.
• The rubber band — Place a rubber band around the outside of all five of your fingers (including your thumb) and stretch it outward. If one band feels too easy, you can add as many rubber bands as you need.
• Grippers — You’ve probably seen these before. They’re the classic hand exercisers you can buy in the store that you simply squeeze together.
Another thing I rely on now to help give me the extra edge to push, pull or grip a little harder is Peak Maximum Endurance. I feel like it invigorates my whole body.