Can you sit down on the floor and then get up again?
How easily you can do this has been shown to be a strong predictor of mortality risk in people who are middle-aged and older. This simple screening test of musculo-skeletal fitness (conducted by Dr Claudio Gil Araujo and colleagues at the Clinmex Exercise Medicine Clinic in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil) has proved remarkably predictive of all-cause mortality in a study of more than 2000 men and women (51-80 yrs).
Subjects were simply told to sit down on the floor and then try to get up again, using the minimum support they felt they needed – not worrying about how long it took them.
Each movement was scored out of 5, and a point was deducted each time a support (eg. knee, forearm or hand) was used, thus subjects achieved a score from 0-10.
Subjects were followed for 9 years after testing (or until they died!). 159 of the 2000 died in this period. The majority of these deaths occurred in people with low test scores and the relationship between mortality and test score carried a high statistical significance, even when results were controlled for age, gender and BMI. Those subjects with the lowest scores (3 or less) had a 5-6 times higher risk of death than those with a score of 8 or more. It was found that a 1 point increase in the score was related to a 21% reduction in mortality
So it demonstrates that, although it is well known that aerobic fitness is strongly related to survival, it is also favourable to maintain high levels of body flexibility, muscle strength, power to body-weight ratio and co-ordination.
It’s a quick and simple test – if a middle aged or older man or woman can sit and rise from the floor using minimal support (just one hand or knee), they are not only in the higher quartile of musculo-skeletal fitness but their survival prognosis is probably better that that of those unable to do so.
Research published by the European Society of Cardiology, Medical News Today, 18 Dec 2012.