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December 5, 2010 at 1:00 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

A Clue to Longevity: In a Handshake?

By Helen More Blogs by This Author

One of the things our fathers taught us early on was the importance of a firm handshake. Since the handshake came into its own, a firm handshake is responsible for conveying mutual respect, personality traits, equality and conviction to the other party and vice versa. In other words, a firm handshake offers more than a form of greeting. It stands to reason then that a firm handshake, as opposed to a weak handshake, might also convey illness or weakened health.

Today, a firm handshake may offer substantially more information regarding an individual's health. Though personality and trustworthiness are all still bundled into that initial greeting of grasping hands, today's firm handshake may be an indication of an individual's longevity as well.

According to a study conducted by the British Medical Journal, your ability to

  1. give a firm handshake,
  2. get up from a chair quickly,
  3. walk swiftly and accurately, and
  4. balance on one foot for any length of time

may all be precursors to longevity, or may point to a shortened lifespan.The addition of adequate mental concentration and heart and lung function are also important in the overall health of an individual. Since all of these functions tend to diminish with age, the following simple tests of these basic skills may offer a means of better determining the health of elderly patients.

Illnesses such as RA are autoimmune diseases which in many cases, already suggest a shortened lifespan, so further study is needed to determine if these exercises can be used accurately when underlying disease is present. However, according to Rachel Cooper of the Medical Research Council, a publicly funded research organization in London, these measures have been used in population-based research for quite a long time and may be useful indicators for subsequent health.


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