Welcome everyone to another edition of the Doctor’s Note where we talk about what’s on our minds when it comes to your health. This week I wanted to continue my theme of fitness and longevity by having Lucas Schmidt, Nutrition Coach at Performance Medicine Johnson City, share his thoughts on the importance of GRIP STRENGTH: how to measure and how to improve if you don’t love your results!

I brought Lucas on board to help patients navigate their diet and exercise. This means patients can sit down and talk with someone about where they are, the obstacles they face and the changes they want to make to reach their weight/strength goal. Lucas is the perfect guy for this!  He listens, works with the patient to construct a doable plan, and then monitors their progress. Note: I personally love having Lucas on my team because a lot of my recommendations for patients are to eat better and get stronger! He helps make that happen! 

Hormones, nutrition, managing stress, getting good sleep, physical fitness, ALL play a role in increasing longevity. The way you walk, posture, asymmetries, aches and pains, muscle mass, and sleep position matter. At Performance Medicine, we try to cover all those bases, especially as you age.

Here are some insights from our podcast conversation.


Grip Strength 


If you are a baby boomer, you are probably like me. You want to stay healthy, fit, strong, lean, and keep your cognitive functions going. Strength and flexibility are necessary for your body to maintain posture, efficiency, and health (i.e., do what you do on a daily basis). One way to measure this is by GRIP STRENGTH. 

Why is grip strength so important? Grip strength is the most accurate measurement of overall strength. Grip strength is typically measured in pounds, kilograms or Newtons by squeezing a type of muscle strength testing device called a dynamometer (grip meter). Check out the demo video below.  

A few “grip” facts:

  1. The average maximum grip force for females is 65.6 pound-force
  2. The average maximum grip force for males is 116 pound-force 
  3. The average healthy grip strength for men is 72.6 pound-force 
  4. The average healthy grip strength for women is 44 pound-force
  5. The average grip force used in daily activities is 16 pound-force
  6. The strongest grip in the world belongs to a 73 year old man, Odd Haugen #oddhaugen

Note: When we did this on the podcast, my measurement was 105 pounds of pressure and Lucas’s was 95 pounds of pressure. Yes, I might only be putting this in the article because it’s one thing I’m a tad stronger at than Lucas!

Other ways you can measure grip strength are: HANG TIME on a pull up bar and a FARMER’S WALK. Note: A farmer’s walk is where you walk with dumbbells in both hands. In Dr. Osborn’s book, he recommends walking for around 2 minutes (it’s harder than you think). This is something I’ve been doing for forearm strength. 


More Strength For Longevity 


Grip strength is just one measurement of your overall strength. There are other ways to assess strength and flexibility, such as: 

  • Getting yourself off the floor without using your hands. Sounds simple, but this requires technique and practice to master!
  • How long can you stand on one foot?  
  • How long can you stand on one foot while closing your eyes? 

Falling as you age is a terrible fear. Symptoms of proprioception disorder can result in balance issues (how your body connects with the earth) which can lead to increased risk of falls. Note: Proprioception is the perception or awareness of the position and movement of the body, which often declines as you age. 

Here are two things I’m working on at home: (1) activating my glutes (your butt should be your strongest muscle), and (2) retracting the scapulas (back part of shoulder blade). 

We want to help you get fit and get strong. You don’t need a gym, but you do need to know how to exercise correctly. That’s where someone like Lucas comes in. It’s important to have a plan, a strategy, and accountability for your health. You don’t need to spend hours working out everyday. Thirty minutes a day resistance training is plenty, as long as you are doing some kind of walking, biking, moving, etc in between. 

Dr. Doug Lucas said on an earlier podcast that walking is not enough as you age. It’s a good exercise, just not enough. You NEED TO BUILD MUSCLE. Brains, bones and metabolism are all related to your muscles. It’s not just what you eat or what you weigh, but also how strong you are. 

Grip strength is a good place to start.  

Stay educated. Stay healthy.

Till next week.