Recent Blog Articles

In the journals: Grip strength and other physical measures predict lifespan

December 1, 2010

Older people who have good grip strength, can walk at a decent pace, are able to rise quickly from a chair, and can balance on one leg are likely to live longer than older people who have trouble with these tasks, according to a meta-analysis published online Sept. 10, 2010, in the medical journal BMJ. These simple tests of physical strength are often used to assess physical capability, meaning a person's ability to perform everyday tasks. This study concludes that these measures also help identify people at higher risk of death — and thus more likely to benefit from medical and lifestyle interventions.

The study. British researchers screened the medical literature and identified 28 observational studies that examined the relationship between mortality and at least one of the aforementioned measures of physical capability (grip strength, walking speed, chair rises, and standing balance) in community-dwelling women and men. The researchers combined the data and assessed the risk of dying early for each of the four measures.

To continue reading this article, you must log in.

Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.

  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »

I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.

Sign Me Up

Already a member? Login ».


As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

Free Healthbeat Signup

Get the latest in health news delivered to your inbox!

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Thanks for visiting. Don't miss your FREE gift.

The Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness, is yours absolutely FREE when you sign up to receive Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Sign up to get tips for living a healthy lifestyle, with ways to fight inflammation and improve cognitive health, plus the latest advances in preventative medicine, diet and exercise, pain relief, blood pressure and cholesterol management, and more.

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Get helpful tips and guidance for everything from fighting inflammation to finding the best diets for weight loss...from exercises to build a stronger core to advice on treating cataracts. PLUS, the latest news on medical advances and breakthroughs from Harvard Medical School experts.

BONUS! Sign up now and
get a FREE copy of the
Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Stay on top of latest health news from Harvard Medical School.

Plus, get a FREE copy of the Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness.