Millennials are literally losing their grip thanks to computers


If you're a millennial reading this: congratulations. We're amazed your weak, puny hands were able to pick up your device and click the link.

We're joking, of course – but the authors of a recent study looking at hand strength may not be.

According to a report published in the Journal of Hand Therapy, the past 30 years have seen young adults swap manual labor for computers and handheld devices. And it's taking a toll on their digits.

The study looked at grip and lateral pinch measurements taken from a sample of 237 "healthy millennials" aged 20-34, and compared those figures with similar readings taken in 1985.

The results were revealing. It found that the men now aged 20-34 had weaker grips and hand strength than those of the same age in 1985.

Women aged 20-24 had the same problem, while those ages 25-29 had weaker grips in their right hand. Women between 30 and 34 was the only group to have similar grip strength to those in 1985.

Elizabeth Fain, one of the study leads, suggested that the demise of grip strength is down to a shift in working practices.

"Work patterns have changed dramatically since 1985, when the first norms were established," she told NPR. "As a society, we're no longer agricultural or manufacturing ... What we're doing more now is technology-related, especially for millennials."

Health effects of smartphones and tablets

The use of handheld devices has exploded over the past two decades, and young adults have been leading the way.

According to ComScore, 81 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds own a smartphone, the highest proportion of any age group.

But grip strength is not the only potential health side effect from using computers and handheld devices.

The Vision Council says 4 out of 10 millennials spend at least nine hours on digital devices each day, and the vast majority of adults look at digital screens for at least two hours a day.

Many of these suffer from eye irritation which has come to be known as "digital eye strain," with the council advising people take regular breaks from their screens to give their eyes a rest, or to use special lenses that minimize the glare.

The Daily Telegraph meanwhile reported the rise of handheld devices has brought with it a rise in back and neck complaints among young people, according to the British Chiropractic Association.

Next Up

Chad Beebe

Chad Beebe's roller-coaster fourth-quarter keeps Vikings playoff hopes alive

A muffed punt and a game-winning touchdown helped defeat the Panthers on Sunday afternoon.


West-central MN cops warn kids to stay off ice, or 'Santa won't come'

This comes amid repeated ice warnings across the state.

covid-19, coronavirus, PPE

Nov. 29 COVID-19 update: 57 deaths, nearly 9,000 more cases

Nearly 100,000 tests were included in Sunday's report.

jim ramstad

Watch former Rep. Jim Ramstad's memorial service online

The ceremony will be live-streamed for the public on Sunday.


How high can Rashod Bateman go in the 2021 NFL Draft?

The Gophers star receiver has plenty of praise heading into next April.

TCF Bank Stadium

15 more from Gopher football team test positive for COVID-19

That brings the total number of cases from this outbreak to 40.

Teddy Bridgewater

5 questions for Vikings-Panthers Week 12 NFC battle

The Vikings welcome Teddy Bridgewater back to U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday.

police lights

Shelter-in-place in Albert Lea after police officer shot in the chest

The officer was able to drive to an emergency room.


St. Paul officer shoots man who got out of dumpster, ran towards police

A report says the man was naked and had a steak knife.

Screen Shot 2020-11-28 at 6.58.11 PM

Gophers dominate second half to defeat Loyola-Marymount

Marcus Carr scored 26 to send the Gophers to 2-0.

Ambulance hospital emergency

Kandiyohi Co. man airlifted after hand caught in corn picker

Corn pickers are a common cause of farm accidents.

White tail deer

DNR: Passenger shot at deer out of driver's side window

The DNR said 'all sense of safety was disregarded.'