Alert
Close

Help hungry seniors. Deliver help and hope before Thanksgiving. Donate

AARP The Magazine

5 Tests That Could Save Your Life

Surprising screenings that can pick up the early signs of illness

5. Open That Jar

What it detects: Likelihood of future disability

How it works: You might not think of grip strength as an important indicator of overall fitness. But low grip strength has consistently been associated with disability later in life, as well as with postoperative complications and premature death, according to Richard Bohannon of the University of Connecticut, whose review study on the subject was recently published in the Journal of Geriatric Physical Therapy. While grip strength on its own doesn't affect your ability to climb stairs, for instance, it's a marker that is correlated with walking ability.

What to do: Physical therapists use an inexpensive machine called a hand-grip dynamometer to analyze grip strength, but you can measure your grip strength in other ways, Bohannon says. Open a tight jar lid. Pick up a gallon of milk and carry it across the room. Lift a long-handled pan with one hand. If you can't do these tasks successfully, you need to build your overall fitness.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

IN THE NEWS

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Membership Discount Benefit Pet Plan Dog

Members save 10% or more on Petplan pet insurance premiums.

Senior couple working on laptop. Medicare open enrollment. (David Jakle/Corbis)

Medicare Open Enrollment Period Ends Dec. 7 ─ AARP® Medicare Plans from UnitedHealthcare.

Grandson (8-9) whispering to grandfather, close-up

Members can save 20% on hearing aids with the AARP® Hearing Care Program provided by HearUSA.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.