Three basic fitness tests may predict longevity

June 18, 2014

June/July 2014 Issue

Three basic fitness tests may predict longevity

In 1999, researchers at the University College London studied more than 2,700 subjects at age 53 to assess their ability to perform three physical tests — grip strength, speed in rising from a chair after sitting, and time spent balancing on one leg with eyes closed.

In 1999, researchers at the University College London studied more than 2,700 subjects at age 53 to assess their ability to perform three physical tests — grip strength, speed in rising from a chair after sitting, and time spent balancing on one leg with eyes closed.

by Adrienne Silverman — 

It is well-documented that regular physical exercise contributes to a longer lifespan. However, what if three simple fitness tests given to individuals in middle age could predict their longevity?

In 1999, researchers at the University College London studied more than 2,700 subjects at age 53 to assess their ability to perform three physical tests — grip strength, speed in rising from a chair after sitting, and time spent balancing on one leg with eyes closed.

The mortality rates of the study subjects were monitored for the next 13 years, until 2012. Findings indicated that the group of subjects who performed poorly or not at all on the tests had higher mortality rates during those 13 years from any cause, while the group of subjects who performed extremely well on the tests had lower mortality rates. Some of the evidence also revealed that the test that measured standing balance time was a greater indicator of mortality rate.

In conclusion, this study showed that one’s physical capabilities during middle age might, in fact, play a role in predicting one’s health later in life, in one’s susceptibility to disease and overall lifespan.

By knowing this, middle-aged individuals might be more apt to adopt healthy lifestyle changes earlier in life, before any serious health conditions or diseases are able to take hold within the body.

Source: British Medical Journal 2014;348:g2219.

 

Adrienne Silverman is a staff writer for AzNetNews and co-founder of psychiclibrary.com.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 33, Number 3, June/July 2014.

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