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Exercise: Apparently We Need to Move to Live!

Simple Exercise Test Reveals How Long You’ll Live

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by Sylvia Booth Hubbard
Can you sit on the floor and then stand without using your hands? If so, congratulations – chances are you’ll still be alive many years from now.
The simple act of sitting and standing without using your hands is a measure of strength, balance, and flexibility, says Dr. Claudio Gil Araújo, and it accurately predicts who will live longer and who will die earlier, perhaps as a result of a bone-breaking fall.
Dr. Araújo noticed that many of his older patients had trouble with everyday motions, such as bending to retrieve a newspaper from the floor. 

He knew that loss of flexibility and muscle control increased the risk of falls and he wanted to devise a test to show which of his patients needed help to avoid bone-breaking accidents. Current tests, he thought, were too complicated or time-consuming for practical use.
He and his colleagues at Gama Filho University in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, developed the sitting-rising test, or SRT, and used it on more than 2,000 patients ages 51 to 80.
Before starting the test, volunteers were told: “Without worrying about the speed of movement, try to sit and then to rise from the floor, using the minimum support that you believe is needed.”
Participants were graded on a ten-point scale. A point was subtracted each time a limb was used for support, either in sitting or standing.
During the six-year follow-up, 7.9 percent of patients died, the majority of deaths occurring in people with low test scores. Those who scored fewer than eight points were twice as likely to die within six years. Patients who scored three points or less were more than five times as likely to die. 

Each one-point increase in the SRT score reduced mortality by 21 percent.
The test offers a quick assessment of fitness. “If a middle-aged or older man or woman can sit and rise from the floor using just one hand – or even better without the help of a hand – they are not only in the higher quartile of musculo-skeletal fitness but their survival prognosis is probably better than that of those unable to do so,” Dr. Araújo said.
While the test was developed primarily as a guide for older patients, it also a good fitness guide for all ages.
“When compared to other approaches to functional testing,” added Dr. Araújo, “the sitting-rising test does not require specific equipment and is safe, easy to apply in a short time period (less than two minutes), and reliably scored. In our clinical practice, the test has been shown over the past 10 years to be useful and practical for application to a large spectrum of populations, ranging from pediatric to geriatric.”
“It is well known that aerobic fitness is strongly related to survival, but our study also shows that maintaining high levels of body flexibility, muscle strength, power-to-body weight ratio and co-ordination are not only good for performing daily activities but have a favorable influence on life expectancy,” said Dr. Araújo.
The study was published in the European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention.
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