Individuals with weaker muscles do not typically live as long as their stronger peers, and are 50 % more likely to die earlier, finds a study.
According to researchers, muscle strength may be an even more important predictor of overall health and longevity than muscle mass.
In addition, hand grip strength specifically has been found to be inversely related to mobility limitations and disability.
However, despite being a relatively simple and cost-effective test, grip strength measurement is not currently part of most routine physicals, they said.
"Maintaining muscle strength throughout life-and especially in later life-is extremely important for longevity and ageing independently," said lead researcher Kate Duchowny, post-doctoral student at the University of California-San Francisco.
The study, published in the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences, highlights the importance of integrating grip strength measurements into routine care-not just for older adults but even in midlife.
"Having hand grip strength be an integral part of routine care would allow for earlier interventions, which could lead to increased longevity and independence for individuals," Duchowny said.
For the study, the team analysed data of 8,326 men and women, aged 65 and older.
After adjusting for socio-demographic factors, chronic health conditions and smoking history, the results showed that people with low muscle strength are 50 per cent more likely to die earlier.