London: Want to live longer? Keep up a good pace when you walk and greet your friends with a strong, firm handshake when you meet them, says a new study.
Researchers at University College London have found that people who walk fast are almost three times less likely to die early than those who walk slowly; and those with strong grip are one-and-a-half times more likely to live longer than people with a weak one.
The researchers came to the conclusion on an analysis of 33 researches involving more than 50,000 men and women who were mostly over 70, a newspaper reported.
The study has suggested that simple physical tests could help doctors detect patients who are becoming frail long before they become ill or have an accident. Moreover, it may
be possible to spot and help patients long before they suffer any injury, according to the researchers.
"Simple non-invasive assessment measures could help doctors identify those most vulnerable to poor health in later life and who may benefit from early intervention to keep them active for longer.
"We think screening elderly people for such fundamental physical activities as walking, shaking hands or getting in and out of a chair could be used as a simple and
inexpensive tool to monitor their health," Dr Rachel Cooper, who led the study, was quoted as saying.
However, the researchers have called for more research into whether grip strength and walking fast lengthens life.
"Ultimately, trials will be needed to determine whether interventions aimed at improving physical capability are effective at improving capability and as a consequence are
effective at reducing morbidity and mortality,` she said.
"Research that helps people to enjoy a long and healthy life is ever more important to help cater for an ageing population," Dr Cooper said.
The findings have been published in the latest edition of the `British Medical Journal`.