Older adults who walk quickly (faster gait) have a better life expectancy.
Did you know that?
Probably it is no surprise to find out that faster walkers will live longer than those who walk slowly.
Did you know that grip strength is also a good predictor of longevity and general health?
How to test your own Gait and Grip Strength.
- Aim to walk at a pace of 3km (i.86 miles)/hour as this is rated as a medium pace,
- Greater than 3.5km (2.17 miles) /hour is good
- Greater than 4.3km (2.67 miles) /hr is exceptional.
Walking briskly is also likely to get your heart rate up and therefore gives you a heart health or cardiovascular benefit.
The more impactful heel strike is good for bone health.
To improve your grip strength it is very easy to do using a soft “stress ball” or an old tennis ball.
- Simply squeeze and hold for 3-5 seconds, relax and repeat approx. 8-10 times.
- Do this while watching TV, when you are on the phone or while you are out walking briskly!
(To accurately assess your grip strength, you can really only get a qualitative measure by using a device called a dynamometer.)
“Some is better than none and more is better than some”
Do you have any tips or stories to share?
Exercise Specialist, Kris Tynan.
Watch out for more great exercise and lifestyle tips from Kris Tynan next month.
Many thanks for this – what about people with osteo arthritis in their hands?
My lively dog has helped increase my walking pace. Also i have strengthened my grip from holding her lead and gripping her collar to re-attach her lead. I am 73. My dog encourages me to walk and we usually cover 3 to 4 kilometres a day.
Ideal! Keeping the joints moving as much as possible helps this condition.
Another good finger mobilisation is as follows:
Make a fist and then spread your fingers as wide as possible varying the speed and doing it up to 10-20 times a few times a day.
It may feel a little uncomfortable at times but as long as it is not above a 7 or 8 on a pain scale of 1-10 this is a great exercise to do.
Another good one for fingers: Get a clothes peg/pin. Using thumb and each finger in turn open and close the peg. The little finger will be the hardest to do. Aim for 8-10 times with each finger. I use a wooden peg and depending on how stiff it is I get a really good workout.
That’s a great tip! And it is a definite challenge, too. Thank you!
How about how many paces for five minutes, so we can have an idea how fast is fast enough…….Noeline Bain
I am assuming you are wearing a pedometer and want to know how many steps in 5 minutes is a good pace. Is this right?
Great feedback Dorothy. Dogs make excellent personal trainers!
Thanks for the feedback re the exercise ideas –