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Gorden notes that if a teen already had a strong grip, developing an even stronger grip doesn’t necessarily provide improvements in the individual’s health. “It’s the low strength that puts you at risk,” he said.

Building muscle is important for your health

To build muscle strength, do resistance training two or three times per week. Give your muscles one or two days off in between workouts.

Take advantage of daily activities to challenge your muscles. For example:

  • Lift a carton of milk a few times before you put it back in the refrigerator to build your arm muscles.
  • Take the stairs whenever possible. This will build the muscles in your legs, hips, buttocks, and abdomen.
  • Get active while talking on the phone or standing in line by doing leg lifts and heel raises — and don’t worry if this looks weird. This will help strengthen the muscles in your legs and buttocks.

In adults, grip strength — an easy and inexpensive test to assess an individual health — is an indicator of all-cause death, cardiovascular death, and cardiovascular disease. A 2015 study linked each 11-pound decrease in grip strength to a 16% higher risk of dying from any cause, a 17% higher risk of dying from heart disease, a 9% higher risk of stroke, and a 7% higher risk of heart attack.

In the future, researchers plan to study how weakness during childhood is reflected in poor health throughout adulthood.