Why simply standing on one leg can tell you whether your life is in the balance

The inability to stand on one leg for 10 seconds after age 50 may indicate early death is on the horizon, new research suggests.

Researchers found that people who failed the simple balance test were twice as likely to die from any cause over the next 10 years.

Almost one in six of the bad balancers died within a decade, the study reported, compared to just one in 22 of those who passed the test.

The experts considered other conditions that may affect balance ability, such as: B. illness or obesity, and found that even when these factors were taken into account, the inability to complete the task increased the risk of death by 84 percent.

Standing time on one leg is a measure of postural instability, which some experts believe may run deeper than physical strength and is actually a result of the presence of brain problems.

Although private healthcare providers often include balance checks in routine health testing, researchers say they should be used more widely.

The author of the study, Dr. Claudio Gil Araujo, of Clinimex Exercise and Sports Medicine in Brazil, said: “The 10-second balance test provides patients and healthcare professionals with quick and objective static balance feedback.

“The test adds useful information on mortality risk in middle-aged and older men and women.”

Unlike aerobic fitness and muscle strength and flexibility, balance tends to be maintained fairly well until people hit 60, when it declines relatively quickly.

One of the reasons balance testing isn’t more widely used is that there are few studies linking performance to health outcomes.

For the current study, 1,702 participants aged 51-75 years were asked to undergo a balance test and then monitored between February 2009 and December 2020.

Disability doubles every five years

About one in five could not stand on one leg for 10 seconds, with the inability to do so more or less doubling with each increase at age five.

While only five percent of 51- to 55-year-olds failed the test, more than a third of 66- to 70-year-olds did.

In general, those who failed the test had poorer health: a higher proportion were obese and/or had heart disease, high blood pressure and unhealthy blood lipid levels. And type 2 diabetes was three times as common in the failure group.

However, after accounting for age, gender, and underlying medical conditions, an inability to stand on one leg unaided for 10 seconds is associated with a nearly double risk of death over the next decade.

Previous studies have shown that the inability to stand on one leg for more than 20 seconds is associated with microbleeds and “silent” strokes.

Silent strokes, or lacunar infarctions, are known to increase the risk of both full-blown stroke and dementia.

The study was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2022/06/21/inability-stand-one-leg-indicates-early-death/ Why simply standing on one leg can tell you whether your life is in the balance


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