Who Knew Grip Strength Was A Diagnostic Measure of Aging?

Over the past few ski seasons, I’ve noticed times when my wrists are weak, especially when rocking my poles. Arthritis? Age? Don’t know. A few days off slope or wearing an elastic wristband, and it goes away.

Three different bagels can help you strengthen your grip. Credit: GripProTrainer
Three different bagels can help you strengthen your grip.
Credit: GripProTrainer

Now I’m trying another approach. I have a little exercise device that looks like a rubber bagel, and you squeeze it as part of a grip-improving, hand and forearm workout. It comes in three colors, each calibrated to different strength abilities. I’ve started with green, which gives 30 pounds of resistance. The product website says it’s for “lighter weight people,” which is hardly my profile. But for now it’s enough. Black has 40 pounds resistance and red, 50 pounds. I doubt I’ll graduate beyond green.

But something about it feels very good. It’s compact, portable, and in a design/function way has a simple elegance. I’ve started to pick it up and use it unconsciously.

Studies suggest that grip strength is related to aging. An interview with one researcher published in The New York Times states “…an adult’s hand grip can distinguish different rates of aging in people with different levels of education.”

Some people use a tennis ball or one of those spring-loaded devices, but based on my experience, the green rubber bagel feels good and keeps me going back for more. It’s called the GripPro Trainer. Online, they’re $7.95 each or $19.95 for all three.

It’s too early to know if using it will help my skier’s wrist. I’ll figure that out during the season. But if you golf, fish, water ski, play tennis, or engage in any activity where grip strength is an issue, it’s worth looking into. Who knows? Maybe it will add years to your life…and life to your years.

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