Want a Health Crystal Ball? Stand on One Leg

A sign of good health for 53-year-olds can be found by…

·      Men balancing on one leg for more than 10 seconds

·      Men standing up and sitting down in a chair more than 37 times in a minute

·      Women standing on one leg for more than 10 seconds

·      Women standing up and sitting down in a chair more than 35 times in a minute

These abilities were comparable with better overall health than those who performed poorly.

“Everyday tasks such as getting out of a chair without help have previously been used as an early warning sign of ill health in elderly people but the new study shows they can be used to predict health problems in people aged as young as 53.”

These simple indicators can create the foundation for early screening tests for people who may need to make lifestyle changes to start taking medication.

What the study found:

·      Men who could only stand and sit 23 times in a minute or less were twice as likely to die within 13 years than those who achieved the goals of the screening

·      Women who could only stand and sit 22 times in a minute or less were twice as likely to die within 13 years than those who achieved the goals of the screening

·      Those individuals unable to complete this test at all were nearly seven times more likely to die within 13 years than those who could participate

·      Men and women alike who could only stand on one leg for 2 seconds or less were three times more likely to die within 13 years than those who could reach the ten second mark

·      Those individuals unable to complete this test at all were nearly twelve times more likely to die within 13 years than those who could

The study used 5,000 participants born in 1946, making them all 53. Nurses visited their homes to complete the tests, and then their health was tracked.

Lead author, Dr. Rachel Cooper with the Medical Research Council, said, “The majority of these studies are done in older people but we have shown that even in this younger age group, where you would not expect pre-existing disease, we are still seeing these measures are picking up some underlying ageing and disease process.”

Since disability is defined as “having problems with everyday activities such as walking across a room, dressing, bathing, eating, using the lavatory…” etc., it makes sense why these simple tasks can be a good indication.

To read the full article, including information on a secondary study, click here.