Get a Grip on Better MENTAL Health
In January, REAL News reported on a study in MSSE (Nov. 2022) that demonstrated substantial correlations between handgrip strength (HGS) and overall health and function in older adults. Now, a December 2022 article in the British Journal of Psychiatry adds to the value of HGS for older adults at risk for depression. It even goes so far as to lay down gender-based parameters.
In a study of over 115,000 people, a “significant association” between HGS – a highly-correlated marker of overall muscle strength and function – was found with depression in middle-age and older adults. While dynapenia and sarcopenia (age-related loss of muscle strength and mass, respectively) are common as we age, we know resistance exercise can boost muscle strength and muscle mass, reduce systemic inflammation, enhance neuroplasticity and oxidative stress responses.
So, if HGS is a marker of a lifestyle that includes strength exercise – and that includes activities like gardening and household chores – then it may also have a bearing on mental health.
Indeed, in a 24-nation Survey of Health, Aging and Retirement, where HGS was categorized into tertiles with the 1st tertile being the weakest, 26.1% had a risk of depression over a 7-year span. Women with HGS up to 27 kg and men up to 40 kg had around 1/2 – 2/3 the risk of depression of their weaker peers.
The researchers suggested that, from a psychological standpoint, “being physically strong may lead to a sensation of psychological wellbeing.” So get a grip…
Running Shoes vs Running Injuries
Distance runners tend to have what are called running-related injuries (RRI) that shoe designers claim to be able to mitigate or prevent. A shoe variant – a motion-control shoe – presumes to prevent overpronation, where the foot flattens and the ankle turns inward at initial impact. In theory, this pattern of excessive rotation and lengthy duration of that position might contribute to shin splints (medial tibial stress syndrome), plantar fasciitis, and many other common foot injuries. A European study aimed to investigate whether or not a motion-control shoe actually prevented excessive-pronation injuries and the development of other RRI.
They gave 372 recreational runners either a standard neutral shoe or a motion-control shoe and recorded RRI over a 6-month period. They then categorized RRI according to type: pronation-related or non-pronation-related. Twenty-five pronation-related and 68 non-pronation-related RRI occurred.
The results showed that “motion-control shoes may reduce the risk of pronation-related running injuries, but did not influence the risk of other running-related injuries…[The hazard risk ratio] to develop pronation-related running injuries was almost 2.5 times lower with motion-control shoes versus standard shoes.”
One of the biggest predictors of RRI is, as for many injuries, previous RRI. “Sufficient recovery time is important, while prevention of the first injury may be even more valuable,” the researchers noted. For runners who are prone to RRI, keep in mind there is “currently no consensus on the classification of running shoes.”
JOSPT Feb. 2023