If you knew how much time you had to live, would you want to know? Well, no one can really tell you for sure, but there is one weird factor that might predict your lifespan: your grip. That's right, if you're someone with strong hands, you might be on track to live a good, long life. And as strange as that sounds, there's a surprising amount of scientific evidence to back it up.
The relationship between grip strength and life expectancy has been documented in senior citizens since at least the mid-1990s. In 1995, a study of 75- to 84-year-olds found that those with greater grip strength and mobility tended to live longer. Other studies have continuously confirmed the link, but later studies also found that grip strength in people significantly younger than 75 could also be significant. In a 1999 study, for instance, researchers found that the more grip strength someone age 45 to 68 had, for instance, the less likely they were to experience functional limitations and disabilities 25 years later in old age.
And since then, researchers have looked at grip strength in people even younger and found similar patterns. In fact, a study from 2015 that looked at over 100,000 adults ages 35 to 70 found that for every five kilogram decline in grip strength, a person's risk of death rose by about on in six.
So what about people even younger than that? Well, on that the research is less clear. After all, grip strength tends to peak for both men and women during your 30s and then slowly decline, which could mean that if you're still in your 20s, your grip strength might not mean as much since it hasn't peaked yet. At the very least, researchers don't seem to have looked into it yet.
Still, it might be worthwhile taking a grip test and seeing how you fair. Although the strength of your grip obviously isn't going to keep you alive — at least not unless you're hanging off a building or something — it still is an interesting indicator of your overall health.
So if you have a strong grip, congratulations! And if your grip needs work, don't freak out, but maybe use it as a reason to look into whether there are ways you might want to try being healthier. After all, the point isn't to have a strong grip, but to lead a long, healthy life. Grip strength is just one weird thing you can use to help figure out how that's going.