The strength of a handshake can set the tone for a business meeting. It can help make a good -- or not-so-good -- first impression. And now a new study shows that a handshake also can do something else: it can measure how fast a person's going to age.
In the study, published today in the online journal Public Library of Science ONE, researchers Serguei Scherbov and Warren Sanderson show that hand grip corresponds to other markers of aging such as future mortality, disability, cognitive decline, and ability to recover from hospital stays.
The researchers, both from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, reviewed 50 published studies focusing on people of all ages around the world. Since the handshake measure is already commonly used, data was plentiful and readily available.
"Hand-grip strength is easily measured and data on hand-grip strength now can be found in many of the most important surveys on aging worldwide," said Sanderson in a written release.
After reviewing one study in particular, Scherbov said in release, "We found that based on this survey, a 65-year-old white woman who had not completed secondary education has the same hand-grip strength as a 69-year-old white woman who had completed secondary education. This suggests that -- according to a hand-grip strength characteristic -- their ages are equivalent and the 65-year-old woman ages four years faster due to lower education attainment."
Generally speaking, researchers found that a more powerful grip strength corresponded with indicators of younger biological age in different population groups.
Scherbov added, "Our goal is to measure how fast different groups in a society age. If some group is getting older faster than another, we can ask why that might be and see whether there are any policies that could help the faster aging group."
While on the subject of handshakes, another study previously found that a person's handshake is consistent over time and is linked to various aspects of his or her personality. Those with a firm handshake were more outgoing and less neurotic than those with a weak handshake.
Still another study provided even more proof of how important a strong handshake is when trying to make a good impression.
So what do you think? Do you gravitate more towards those with firm handshakes? Let us know in comments.