This simple 10-second balance test can tell you that your risk of death is doubled

According to published new research British Journal of Sports MedicineFailure to stand on one leg for 10 seconds will almost double the risk of death in the next 10 years.

Failure to stand on one leg for 10 seconds from the middle of life to the end of life doubles the risk of death.

Over the next 10 years, the probability of dying from any cause will almost double, due to the inability to stand on one leg for 10 seconds in later life. This is stated in the results of a new study published on June 21, 2022 British Journal of Sports Medicine.

According to researchers, this simple and safe balance test can be included in the daily health screening for the elderly.

According to scientists, aerobic fitness, in contrast to muscle strength and flexibility, is well maintained until the sixth decade of life, when it begins to deteriorate relatively quickly.

However, a balanced assessment of the health of middle-aged and older men and women is not included as a rule. It probably doesn’t have a standardized test for it and there is some hard data linking the balance to clinical outcomes other than the fall.

So the researchers wanted to know if the balance test could be a reliable indicator of a person’s risk of death for any reason in the next decade, and if so, whether they deserved to be included in the daily health check-up in later life.

The researchers approached participants in the CLINIMEX Exercise cohort study. It was established in 1994 to assess the relationship between deteriorating health and mortality and various indicators of physical fitness, exercise-related variables, and normal cardiovascular risk factors.

The current analysis included 1,702 participants aged 51–75 years (average 61) in the first survey from February 2009 to December 2020. About two-thirds (68%) were men.

Several measurements were taken from the weight and thickness of the skin folds and the size of the waist. Detailed information on the history of the disease was also provided. Only permanent clicks are included.

As part of the test, participants were asked to stand on one leg for 10 seconds without any additional support.

To improve the standardization of the test, participants were asked to place the front of the bare foot on the back of the opposite lower leg, hold the hand on either side, and place the heel straight forward. He was allowed to try three times with both feet.

In total, about 1 in 5 participants (20.5%; 348) did not pass the test. The inability to do so increased with age and more or less doubled between the ages of 51 and 55 over the next 5 years.

The proportion of those who are unable to stand on one leg for 10 seconds is almost 5% among those aged 51–55; 8% among 56-60 year olds; 18% less among 61-65 year olds; and 37% less among 66-70 year olds.

More than half of the 71–75-year-olds (approximately 54%) failed the test. In other words, people at this age did not pass the test 11 times more often than people under the age of 20.

During the 7-year average monitoring period, 123 (7%) people died: cancer (32%); cardiovascular diseases (30%); respiratory diseases (9%); the and[{” attribute=””>COVID-19 complications (7%).

There were no clear temporal trends in the deaths, or differences in the causes, between those able to complete the test and those who weren’t able to do so.

But the proportion of deaths among those who failed the test was significantly higher: 17.5% vs 4.5%, reflecting an absolute difference of just under 13%.

In general, those who failed the test had poorer health: a higher proportion was obese, and/or had heart disease, high blood pressure, and unhealthy blood fat profiles. And type 2 diabetes was 3 times as common in this group: 38% vs around 13%.

After accounting for age, sex, and underlying conditions, an inability to stand unsupported on one leg for 10 seconds was associated with an 84% heightened risk of death from any cause within the next decade.

This is an observational study, and as such, can’t establish cause. As participants were all white Brazilians, the findings might not be more widely applicable to other ethnicities and nations, caution the researchers.

And information on potentially influential factors, including recent history of falls, physical activity levels, diet, smoking, and the use of drugs that may interfere with balance, wasn’t available.

Nevertheless, the researchers conclude that the 10-second balance test “provides rapid and objective feedback for the patient and health professionals regarding static balance,” and that the test “adds useful information regarding mortality risk in middle-aged and older men and women.”

Reference: “Successful 10-second one-legged stance performance predicts survival in middle-aged and older individuals” by Claudio Gil Araujo, Christina Grüne de Souza e Silva, Jari Antero Laukkanen, Maria Fiatarone Singh, Setor Kwadzo Kunutsor, Jonathan Myers, João Felipe Franca and Claudia Lucia Castro, 21 June 2022, British Journal of Sports Medicine.
DOI: 10.1136/bjsports-2021-105360

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