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Why you could be heading for an early grave if you can't get off the floor without using your handsSimple test asked 50 to 80-year-olds to sit on the floor and stand up with as little support as possibleAdults who needed to use a number of aids such as their hands and knees were six times more likely to die than those who didn't
12:00 GMT, 13 December 2012
A simple 'standing up' test could predict mortality, research shows.
A study found that the ability to sit on the floor before rising to a standing position was closely linked to all causes of death.
It supports previous research that found musculo-skeletal fitness is a strong predictor of health in the middle aged and above.
Sitting down – but can you get up again without help Scientists say this is a strong predictor of health
Tests on more than 2,000 men and women in Brazil were 'remarkably predictive' or mortality rates, reports the European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention.
Those who were able to perform the two actions using minimum support were five to six times lower risk of death than those who needed to use aids such as their hands and knees.
Study leader Dr Claudio Arazjo, from the Exercise Medicine Clinic in Rio de Janeiro, said: 'If a middle-aged or older man or woman
can sit and rise from the floor using just one hand – or even better
without the help of a hand – they are not only in the higher quartile of
musculo-skeletal fitness but their survival prognosis is probably
better than that of those unable to do so.'
The test was a simple assessment of the subjects' ability to sit and then rise unaided from the floor. It was performed in 2,002 adults aged between 51 to 80 years.
The subjects were followed-up from the date of the baseline test until the date of death or 31 October 2011, a median follow-up of 6.3 years.
Before starting the test, they were told: 'Without worrying about the speed of movement, try to sit and then to rise from the floor, using the minimum support that you believe is needed.'
Each of the two basic movements were assessed and scored out of five, with one point being subtracted from five for each support used (hand or knee, for example).
Those who needed a lot of assistance in the test had a far higher risk of mortality
Over the study period 159 subjects died, a mortality rate of 7.9 per cent
The majority of these deaths occurred in people with low test scores – only two of the deaths were in subjects who gained a composite score of 10.
Overall, subjects in the lower score range of the sitting test had a five to six times higher risk of death than those in the higher groups.
Scores of eight and above had a particularly low risk of death in the tracking period, and each one point increase in score was related to a 21 per cent reduction in mortality.
Dr Arazjo, said: 'It is well known that aerobic fitness is strongly related to survival, but our study also shows that maintaining high levels of body flexibility, muscle strength, power-to-body weight ratio and co-ordination are not only good for performing daily activities but have a favourable influence on life expectancy.
'When compared to other approaches to functional testing the sitting-rising test does not require specific equipment and is safe, easy to apply in a short time period (less than 2 minutes), and reliably scored.
'In our clinical practice, the test has been shown over the past ten years to be useful and practical for application to a large spectrum of populations, ranging from paediatric to geriatric.'