What YOUR handshake may say about you: Strength of grip 'could reveal how likely you are to reach a good age'
- Doctors say grip strength could be the best way check someone's health
- Studies show those with a firm handshake tend to outlive those without
- Those with the weakest grip were 70% more likely to die at any given time
It is often seen as a sign of confidence but a firm handshake could signal a long and healthy life.
A growing number of doctors and scientists believe the strength of a person’s grip could be one of the most useful ways to gauge how well they are ageing.
Studies show men and women blessed with a strong grip tend to outlive those whose handshakes brush rather than crush.
Handshake strength could be a quick and inexpensive way for doctors to get a grip on patients’ health, researchers from the University of Vienna claim
One British analysis found those with the weakest handshakes were 70 per cent more likely to die at any given time than those with the strongest handshakes.
The finding held even when factors such as age and gender were taken into account.
Another study concluded the strength of a person’s grip was a better indicator of their odds of dying prematurely than a blood pressure check.
It is thought muscle strength provides a guide to a person’s overall health. Those who are weak may already be ill – or if they fall ill, they may find it harder to recover.
Importantly, grip strength isn’t just linked to physical health. Research shows those with a strong grip may be less likely to develop dementia.
In the latest study, researchers tabulated measurements from more than 11,000 Germans of all ages, to work out healthy and unhealthy grip strengths for each age and sex. Height was also taken into account.
This revealed strength peaks in people’s 30s and 40s, before starting to decline.
A growing number of doctors and scientists believe the strength of a person’s grip could be one of the most useful ways to gauge how well they are ageing
Under 10 per cent of men and women in their late 60s were classed as having a weak handshake –but by the time they reached their 80s, half fell into the danger zone.
Height was shown to make a big difference to strength, with an 8in difference in height affecting grip as much as a 20 year gap in age.
The tables, published in the journal PLOS ONE, are unlikely to be of use in the UK because research shows Germans generally have a better grip than Britons.
However, the British are stronger than the Japanese.
University of Vienna researcher Nadia Steiber said grasp strength could be a quick and inexpensive way for doctors to get a grip on patients’ health.
She added: ‘When individuals’ handgrip falls below the reference value for their age group, sex and body height, this can be taken as an indicator that further health checks may be warranted.'
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