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Get a Grip on Good Health

Get a Grip on Good Health

“Get a grip on yourself!” snaps Victoria Brisbane (Madeline Kahn) to Dr. Richard Thorndyke (Mel Brooks) in High Anxiety, Brooks’ 1977 riotous parody of Alfred Hitchcock movies. Seems the doc is becoming seriously unraveled—and he might just expire if he can’t hold it together.

But losing one’s grip isn’t always funny, according to a study in The Lancet that looked at the relationship between grip strength, overall health and your risk of death from all causes and heart woes. The researchers found that the chance of premature death increases 16 percent for every 11 pounds weaker your measured grip is.

Grip strength can be measured using a dynamometer; most physical therapists have one. But you probably know if your grip and arm strength is weaker than it used to be or was never very good—and chances are that’s a sign your overall muscle tone is lacking, something that increases your risk of chronic disease and frailty.

So to get a grip on good health, check out Dr. Mike’s NuttyRiceBucket.org challenge and then try this four-step strength-building routine from Dr. Roizen’s book, The RealAge Workout:

  • Walk a minimum 30 minutes a dayall at once or in 10-minute increments.
  • Do 7-10 minutes of strength training of foundation muscles (abs, back, buttocks, quadriceps, hamstring and rotators) every other day.
  • Do 8-10 minutes of strength training of non-foundation muscles (chest, shoulder, biceps, triceps and forearms) every other day.
  • Do 21 minutes of aerobic exercise three days a week. You’ll build your grip on great health!

Medically reviewed in March 2018.

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