“A healthy mind in a health body.” It’s a saying that is often tossed around when discussing the link between exercise and brain health. Many studies have shown that exercise can improve cognitive performance. In a new study, researchers asked if body strength could be used to predict brain health.

Hand grip strength has been used in a variety of studies to assess cardiovascular health, mortality rates, general quality of life, and cognition. This research group used grip strength as a metric to assess cognitive performance. The study compared a general population sample set of 475,397 individuals and schizophrenic sample set of 1,162. With such a large sample size, researchers were able to account for confounding variables (gender, age, education, and geographic location) with confidence. They found that grip strength was strongly correlated with visual memory, reaction time, number memory, and prospective memory in the general population. Within the schizophrenic population, grip strength was only closely correlated to visual memory and reaction time.

The results strongly suggest that grip strength is a solid indicator of one’s mental health and could be used to identify problems before other symptoms become noticeable. Additionally, previous studies only examined this correlation in adults above 55 years old. This study examined a larger age group, between 40 and 69, meaning that the grip strength metric could be used to assess all adults, rather than just the elderly. However, this study didn’t address other confounding variables such as recent illnesses, sleep schedule, exercise routines, or smoking, which will likely have a large impact on the results. Future studies are needed to address these additional factors.

Managing Correspondent: Zane Wolf

Image Credit: RecoilWeb.com

Original Article: Grip Strength is Associated with Cognitive Performance in Schizophrenia and the General Population: A UK Biobank Study of 476559 Participants – Schizphrenia Bulletin

Popular Media: Research reveals stronger people have healthier brains – University of Manchester

Related SITN Articles: Mindfulness meditation: A mental workout to benefit the brain; Can you maintian mental stability and health as you age? 

2 thoughts on “What does your grip strength say about your mental health?

  1. I never took into account the fact that the grip strength has been found to be related to schizophrenia as per visual memory and reaction time. I guess I will be seeking a professional to check this out with a cousin of mine. We just noticed that he would share memories with us that we have never had, and he would even tell stories that we are sure that they are not real.

  2. Thanks for the post, and I also want to add some points about the benefits of the handgrip exercises.

    Benefits of handgrip exercise:

    1. Strengthen the forearm
    Grip strengthener training will impact your forearm girth that will link to a strong arm and muscle.

    2. Prevent injuries
    With grip strength exercises help to tone your hands and forearm, which reduce the risks of getting an injury from some sports such as tennis and weightlifting.

    3. Increase hand endurance
    There is no doubt that handgrip exercise aids in increased hand endurance. As it adds the resistance on your hand to apply force to build muscle and strength.

    4. Improved Dexterity
    Hand grips training also works to build up fingers independently to improve dexterity. Both of the musicians and typists are benefited from this enhanced skill.

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