Weak handshake? You might be a goner

You know the type. You reach out your hand, grab the one extended to you and give it a firm shake, only to be met with the limp fish version.

Now a study suggests you’re shaking hands with a dead man walking.

According to a new study, a weak handgrip is linked to a higher risk of dying from both cardiovascular and non-cardiovascular diseases, the CBC reports.

The study took place in 17 culturally and economically diverse countries, from Canada and Sweden to Zimbabwe and Pakistan. Researchers followed about 140,000 adults between the ages of 35 to 70 for four years.

They examined the relationship between a range of health conditions and muscle strength, which was measured by grip strength.

Participants were asked to squeeze a hand-grip dynamometer, which gives a reading in kilograms, as hard as they can.

The study showed that for every five kilograms of decline in grip strength, there was:

16 per cent increase in risk of death from any cause.
17 per cent increase in risk of cardiovascular death.
17 per cent increase in risk of non-cardiovascular death.

Modest increases in risk of heart attack (seven per cent) or stroke (nine per cent).

These associations persisted even after adjusting for factors that can affect mortality or heart disease, such as age, education, employment status, physical activity, and tobacco and alcohol use, according to the study.

A researcher says increasing the firmness of your handshake might not make a difference in your future.

  • Brian Simon

    Firm handshake firm grip.

  • Noelle

    Limp handshakes are the worst (do these people realize how sad their handshakes are?). A close second are handshakes that last too long.