Long Life Goes Hand in Hand With a Firm Grip in Santa Rosa CA
Long Life Goes Hand in Hand With a Firm Grip
By: Frederik Joelving
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Seniors who can still give a firm handshake and walk at a brisk pace are likely to live longer than those who can't, according to British researchers.
They found simple measures of physical capability were related to life span among graying heads in the community, even after accounting for age, sex and body size.
The study is the first to provide a comprehensive view of the existing research by pooling all the relevant data. It analyzed grip strength, walking speed, time to get up from a chair and ability to balance on one leg, mostly in people 70 years and older, and looked at mortality from all causes.
"These measures have been used in population-based research for quite a long time," said Rachel Cooper of the Medical Research Council, a publicly funded research organization in London. "They may be useful indicators for subsequent health."
Cooper, whose findings appear in the British Medical Journal, said more studies are needed to clarify whether the measures would be helpful to doctors as a screening tool.
"I wouldn't suggest that we roll them out into clinical practice tomorrow, but it is possible that they could be used in the future," she told Reuters Health.
The researchers examined 33 earlier datasets comprising tens of thousands of people, and included only those living "in the community" rather than in a nursing home. While lumping data from various studies together might make the results less solid, most findings pointed in the same direction.