Everyone wants to know how healthy they really are; what their risk is of being struck be a fatal ailment such as cardiovascular disease (which accounts for more than 30% of global deaths). Whilst reading research on various health tests, I came across some interesting research on musculoskeletal fitness indicators, with a very simple a quick health test you can do at home.
The health test
For this health test, assigning yourself 10 points, and stand upright. Now, move into a fully seated position on the floor (safely, without losing your balance), and stand up again, using as few support/ balancing aids (such as knees, hands, side of legs etc) as possible. For each support/ balancing aid you use on the way down and on the way up you lose 1 point. So for example, if you use a hand to support yourself on the way down, thats 1 point, and if you use a hand on the way up that’s another point, meaning you have a lost 2 points – giving you 8 points. If you lose balance, then you lose half a point.
Now see what of the below categories you fall in:
- 0–3 points
- 3.5–5.5 points
- 6–7.5 points
- 8–10 points
The research found that each increase in category represents a 21% increase in survival rate for all cause mortality over 6.3 years in 51–80 year olds after adjusting for age, sex and body mass index.
How accurate is this?
Of course this is quite a crude health test, but it is very simple to do; you could even do it right now! Unsurprisingly, there are short comings and limitations to this test, for one, the age group was 51–80 year olds, so if you’re younger than 50 the 21% survival improvement will be even less accurate. Having said this, being under 50 and having a score below 8 might be cause for some health concern, and this in itself might serve as a bit of a wake up call. If a 55 year old is able to get 7 points (giving a 63% survival rate), and you are only able to get 5 points at 30 years old, you might want to think about how your current lifestyle will impact your health in the coming years.
The test also doesn’t test cardiovascular strength (which is a strong indicator of cardiovascular disease risk), or offer any insight into other aspects of health. As a rather extreme example, someone with cancer could score an 7 or 8 with relative ease, which would indicate pretty good health. However, their cancer could sadly cause death in a few months. It is certainly not a complete and thorough test.
But… so what?
So it’s not the most accurate predictor and has its loop-holes. It is however, a very quick and simple little test to give you an insight into your musculoskeletal fitness, its something you can easily do in no time, and there is significant evidence which has linked your ability to sit down/ stand up to your overall risk of death.
de Brito LB. (2012). Ability to sit and rise from the floor as a predictor of all-cause mortality. Eur J Prev Cardiol. 21 (7), 892-898.
Images courtesy of didmyself