20 Mar Strong Muscles can help you Live Longer
You might think “I don’t want to look like Arnie, I don’t need to lift weights”.
Recently, more research has been coming out which suggests that having low levels of muscular strength can increase your chances of developing cardiovascular diseases, metabolic diseases, cancer, physical disabilities, and most importantly can increase risk of premature death.
University of Glasgow
A study from University of Glasgow which looked at over 500,000 UK Biobank participants found that a higher level of grip strength was associated with better overall health and that lower grip strength was associated with increased risk of death, cardiovascular diseases, various respiratory diseases, and various cancers.
When people are thinking about cardiovascular disease risk, they will often think they need to spend time performing cardio training on a bike, treadmill, or rower. But Dr. Stuart Gray from University of Glasgow highlights that it may not be as simple as that.
“Grip strength showed a stronger association with cardiovascular disease than blood pressure and physical activity”Dr. Gray
So it may be extremely valuable to dedicate I bit more time to weight training.
University of Michigan
Research from the University of Michigan, led by Dr. Kate Duchowny, also found that low levels of grip strength could increase your risk of cardiometabolic disease and physical disability. This research further highlights how important it is for healthcare professionals to assess grip strength in their patients before other, potentially more harmful, risk factors present themselves.
“Having hand grip strength be an integral part of routine care would allow for earlier interventions, which could lead to increased longevity and independence for individuals”Dr. Duchowny
Why Grip Strength?
You might notice that these studies (and a lot more which have shown similar results) really only talk about grip strength. That doesn’t mean you can just sit around on the sofa working your grip all day, and you’ll live forever. Grip strength is just a good indication of your overall muscular strength throughout the body. So you need to make sure you’re doing a well-rounded resistance training programme which improves strength throughout your body.
These studies aren’t able to prove a definite link between muscular strength and overall health. However, they do shine a light on previously overlooked aspects of health and the potential links to muscular strength. If you are already doing some regular weight training – great! If not, then maybe it’s time to start! It’s easier than you think to get into resistance training.
For the sake of lifting weights a few times a week, you could live a longer, happier, and healthier life!
Philip has several years experience as a strength and conditioning coach for competitive athletes, and as an exercise referral specialist focusing on exercise in clinical populations. Over his years as a coach he has trained clients to manage and reduce risk for various conditions and diseases, and to compete in several disciplines at various levels. As a Master (MSc) of Sport and Exercise Science and Medicine, Philip is also passionate about health and exercise research and has presented his work at various events. He is now a Content Executive with Powerhouse Fitness and hopes to share the knowledge he has gained with as many people as possible.