Your future lies in the palm of your hand… kind of. A popular topic in longevity and exercise science involves the association between grip strength and life span, but what exactly are people talking about? Two recent studies describing the relevance of grip strength in the field have started to analyze what information one’s grip strength actually provides. “Grip strength is inversely associates with DNA methylation age acceleration” covers cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between hand grip strength and three different clock models to describe the pace of one’s aging in American adults over the age of 50 years old. Essentially, these three different clocks take in information from a DNA methylation sample, and output a relative estimate of how quickly someone is aging based on the different health outcome risk biomarkers they are entrained on. As it pertains to grip strength, the three age-acceleration clocks looked at in the study found significant associations to suggest that greater grip strength can help one protect their body from physically aging faster. These clocks could be useful tools in future clinical applications to begin to better understand the needs of different patients later in life. However, there is still work left to be done as the sample of this study may not be representative of the diverse middle and older aged populations in the larger United States or on a global scale. When reading information from the study above, it can also be easy to believe that increasing the amount of grip-strength exercises you’re doing will help you slow down how fast you’re aging and live longer, which is not exactly the case. Another study from the Journal for Clinical Interventions in Aging, reviews the literature to suggest how grip strength’s relevance to aging science may be due to its associations with total body strength, bone density, reduced risk of falls and fractures, etc. Knowing that there is ample research on the protective effects of these measurements on later-in-life life expectancy, grip strength may be a starting place to begin to clinically understand risks the potential mobility and functionality risks for some patients.
To read the full article from the Journal of Cachexia, Sarcopenia, and Muscle, follow this link: https://doi.org/10.1002/jcsm.13110
To read the full article from the Journal for Clinical Interventions in Aging, follow this link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6778477/.
By: Carly Mae Smith