Being able to sit down on the floor and stand up again without holding onto anything, could foretell how much longer you have to live. So says some doctors who have come up with a ‘sitting-rising test’ to measure patients’ flexibility and strength. The above diagram shows how to take the 'sitting rising test'.
The scoring system developed for the test found that people who scored three points or less out of 10, were more than five times as likely to die within six years, as those who scored more than eight points.
Discover Magazine reports that Brazilian doctor, Claudio Gil Araujo, of Gama Filho University in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, was among those who originally developed the sitting rising test (SRT) to quickly assess the flexibility of athletes. Now however, he now uses it to persuade most of his patients that they need to stay active to maintain their muscle and balance, and live longer.
Dr Araujo says that anyone can take the SRT because no equipment is needed.
In a study, published in the European Journal of Cardiology, the researchers described how 2002 adults aged between 51 and 80 took the SRT at Clinimex Exercise Medicine Clinic in Rio.
They found that patients who scored fewer than eight points out of 10 on the test, were twice as likely to die within the next six years, compared with people with more perfect scores. Those who scored three points or fewer, were more than five times as likely to die within the same period.
One point was deducted each time a person used their hand or knee for support to either sit down or stand up, while half a point was deducted for losing their balance. The study found that every point increase in the test, was linked to a 21 per cent decrease in mortality from all causes.
They wrote in the study:
‘Musculoskeletal fitness, as assessed by SRT, was a significant predictor of mortality in 51–80-year-old subjects.’
However, chartered physio-therapist Sammy Margo told MailOnline that there is a risk that people with early signs of arthritis in the knee could feel the strain when trying the exercise, which she described as 'quite hard work'. UK physiotherapists tend to prefer another test, where patients stand up from a sitting position and see how many times they can repeat the action in 30 seconds.
'The advice is not to endorse the test – it sounds as if it is somewhat simplistic and it is not widely used. The "30 second chair test" is more appropriate and is used as a prognostic. It's simplistic, quick and easy and gives a good indicator for falls.'
The 30 second chair test measures leg strength and endurance - which are needed to move around without falling - rather than flexibility and agility like the SRT.
While Ms Margo did not recommend the SRT, she said it does 'address everything' in terms of a person's strength and flexibility.
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