If you want to live longer and reduce your chances of health problems or having a heart attack, do push-ups., walk faster and improve your grip strength.

All three have been shown to be better predictors of health and longevity than weight and the time-honored body mass index.

The Atlantic published an intriguing article detailing a wave of studies suggesting there are better and more reliable indicators of health than the typical doctor office measures of weight, blood pressure, age and BMI. “As these numbers continue to dominate health care,” the article says, “An emerging body of evidence is finding useful and cheap numbers that anyone can find and track. If these new numbers aren’t being taken seriously, it may be because they seem too obvious.”

One research studied firefighters, as a group more physically fit than most of us. However, they are more likely to die of cardiac disease, than of fire, smoke or other occupational injuries. Researchers found they could predict mortality due to cardiac vascular disease based on the number of push-ups a firefighter could do.

Reporting the results of their 10 year study of male firefighters in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), they conclude, ” Participants able to complete more than 40 push-ups were associated with a significantly lower risk of incident CVD event risk compared with those completing fewer than 10 push-ups.”

Another study found a strong association of grip strength with lower risks of cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, all cancer, and some types of cancer, including colorectal, lung, and breast cancer.

“Adding handgrip strength to an existing office based risk score improves the prediction ability” for mortality, the study concludes, adding, “muscle weakness is associated with poorer health outcomes.”

In a third study mentioned in The Atlantic article, walking speed is a good predictor of longevity for seniors. For every increase in speed above about 2 1/2 feet per second, seniors increased their likelihood of surviving the next decade.

“Why would gait speed predict survival?,” the study researchers asked in their paper published in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association). “Walking requires energy, movement control, and support and places demands on multiple organ systems, including the heart, lungs, circulatory, nervous, and musculoskeletal systems.”

Photo by Dan Counsell on Unsplash

Jun 6, 2023

Dumb Mistakes That Will Cost You the Job

It is amazing how many perfectly fine candidates sabotage their chances at getting the job.

Matthew Ross, co-owner of two e-commerce sites, tells of a time a candidate volunteered she had lied to her employer about having a medical condition so she could get more time off.

“I couldn’t believe that someone would admit to lying to their former boss to what could have been their new boss,” Ross told writer Annamarie Houlis. “Needless to say, we did not end up hiring the candidate for character concerns.”

Besides the fact she was dishonest, admitting that in an interview with a potential new employer should have been an obvious no-no. Yet, as the article makes clear, committing these interview errors is more common than you think.

One that no one should ever make is to show up for an interview unprepared. Thousands of career sites all say the same thing: Find out everything you can about the organization and the people you’ll be interviewing with. Even a cursory internet search is enough to give you the basics.

What’s surprising is that there are candidates who show up to an interview without doing even that much.

Kari Whaley, a Florida chamber of commerce CEO discovered an extreme example of this when interviewing a candidate for a marketing position. “The candidate began their response with saying they had not yet looked at our website or social media,” recalled Whaley, “and then continued by telling me they weren’t even sure what a Chamber of Commerce was.”

Career sites are replete with less dramatic examples of candidates who did only a cursory search, coming up with blank stares when the interviewer asked about recent company developments.

Houlis’ article has multiple examples of other interview mistakes that even a little preparation would prevent: Failing to make eye contact; speaking ill of a former employer or expressing too much negativity; discussing money.

There is one fail on the list that may not be as obvious, even to someone who has done their homework. That’s asking for the job. Seasoned sales people know not to walk away from a potential customer without asking for their business. The rest of us may not realize just how important that is.

As an interview comes to a close, always ask for the job. It’s not necessary to bluntly say, “I want this job.” If that feels too pushy, an alternative is to express excitement about the company and the position and declare your interest in the job. Be prepared in case the interviewer turns around and asks you why. If they do, take that as an opportunity to reinforce your strong points and the contribution you can make.

Photo by Maranda Vandergriff on Unsplash