Once you reach the age of 35, your physical fitness starts to deteriorate. And being less fit also means being more likely to die. So for people over 50, here’s one simple test that predicts – given it’s simplicity, with surprising accuracy – how likely you are to die because of deteriorating physical fitness.
The ‘sitting test’, developed by a Brazilian doctor, involves sitting down from a standing position into a cross-legged position and standing up again, using as little support from hands, knees, or other body parts. The process of sitting is granted a score out of five, and the process of standing up again is granted another score out of five, for a total of ten points. One point is deducted for each body part required to sit or stand up, and half-points are deducted for losing balance.
The higher the score, the longer you’re expected to live. To quote from the results:
“SRT scores [below] 8 (that is, requiring more than one hand or knee support to sit and rise from the floor in a stable way) were associated with 2–5-fold higher death rates over 6 years in men and women aged 51–80. SRT scores in the range 8–10 indi- cated a particularly low risk of death during the tracking period [12 years]. Even more relevant is the fact that a 1-point increment in the SRT score was related to a 21% reduction in mortality. The SRT can be considered a simple screening procedure in which a low score largely reflects the degree of impairment in the components of musculoskeletal fitness – mainly those indicating a reduction in muscle strength and/or joint flexibility.”