Everyone wants to live a long, healthy life. No one wants their life to be cut unnecessarily short. But is it possible to predict whether you're at greater risk of mortality? According to a Brazilian physician, the sitting-rising test (SRT) can indicate whether you're at greater of mortality.
Here's how it works. Stand barefooted, wearing loose-fitting clothing, on a non-slick floor with plenty of open space around you. Cross one leg over the other and lower yourself to a sitting position. Then stand back up.
The goal is to do that without touching the floor with your hands, knees, elbows, forearms, or the sides of your legs -- and without losing balance. If you're not sure you can do it, have someone nearby to steady or catch you.
Make sense? If not, here's a demo from the world's worst fitness model (who isn't supposed to be wearing shoes but hey, I was at the gym.)
Then score yourself.
You lose a point for every time you had to put a hand down, or knee, or forearm, or shift onto the side of one leg before levering yourself up. And you lose .5 points if you lost balance. (The "rise" portion of my demo had a little motion to it, so let's subtract .5 from my score. And another 1 point for the post-workout hair.)
Here's what your results mean: In this study, Dr. Claudio Gil Araujo found that people who scored less than 8 points on the test were two times as likely to die within the next six years compared with those who scored higher.
And people who scored 3 or less points were more than five times as likely to die within the same period compared to people who scored more than 8 points.
On the flip side, each point increase in the SRT score was associated with a 21 percent decrease in mortality. (So if you score a 7 today and in a month score an 8, your mortality rate dramatically decreases.)
Granted, the test isn't perfect. If you have a bad knee, for example, you might bomb the test but otherwise be fit. And it's also just a simple screening tool that provides indications, not certainties: Some people will score a 10 and die within a few years; others will score a 2 and live to be 90.
Even so, flexibility, balance, and muscle strength make a major difference in overall health, especially as we age, and the SRT is a simple way to assess those attributes. That makes passing the SRT a reasonable indication of overall activity and fitness levels. If you're overweight, the test is harder. If you lack flexibility, the test is harder. If you lack balance or are in poor physical condition, the test is harder -- and all of those things can indicate a higher risk of mortality.
You only get one life -- so make yours as healthy, happy, and long as you possibly can.