Have you ever tried to shake hands with someone with such a weak handshake that it felt like you had limp pasta in your hand?
Get used to it, because apparently younger people — aka millennials — have lost their grip on the hearty handshake.
Researchers at Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina found that men and women under 30 have weaker grip strength than they did nearly 30 years ago in 1985, according to their study published online in the Journal of Hand Therapy.
Young people don’t do as much physical labor as their earlier counterparts, unless you count holding up a cell phone to take a selfie as heavy lifting.
“Work patterns have changed dramatically since 1985, when the first norms were established. As a society, we’re no longer agricultural or manufacturing,” Elizabeth Fain, an occupational therapist and lead author of the study, told NPR. “What we’re doing more now is technology-related, especially for millennials.”
The study collected data from 237 men and women under 30 — most 20 to 24 years old — who were asked to squeeze a joystick-like hand dynamometer, which measures grip strength in pounds.
On average, men’s hand strength decreased by 20 pounds, women’s by 10 pounds.
That’s bad news in a society that still, by and large, values a good, firm handshake.
Like it or not, people with weak handshakes — for reasons unrelated to health issues — are judged to be weak themselves.
A 2008 study of handshakes led by Greg Stewart at the University of Iowa found that undergraduates in mock job interviews were judged to be timid and less impressive than others if they had wimpy handshakes.
“You’re meeting a new client and reach out your hand for a handshake, but instead of a firm grip set with confident purpose, you get a weak and wriggly floppy fish in return,” wrote Ask Men about the latest study. “Yuck!
“The good news is you won’t need one of those hand grip toys you might’ve had as a kid or those squeeze balls filled with sand, although they’d probably help. Hand grips involve your whole arm, including your wrist and forearm, so keep hitting the gym and you’ll be fine.”