December 14, 2012
Sit On The Floor, Now Stand Up: Test Of Musculo-skeletal Fitness Predicts Mortality
Connie K. Ho for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
A new study, published by the European Society of Cardiology, found that testing musculo-skeletal fitness, specifically the ability to sit and rise from the floor, could help predict the mortality of middle-aged and older individuals.
Conducted by researchers at the Clinimex-Exercise Medicine Clinic in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, they utilized an assessment that measured a person´s ability to sit and then stand up without help from the floor.
Prior to the test, the participants were instructed, "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."
In the exam, the two basic movements were scored out of five and the total evaluation was on a range of 0 to 10. Med Page Today reports that the test was conducted on a nonslip surface and measured balance, coordination, flexibility, coordination, and muscle strength. If the participants used some kind of support, like a hand or a knee, one point was deducted. The study subjects were made up of females and males between the ages of 51 and 80 years of age. They were given a follow-up from the date of the initial test to the date of death or October 31, 2011; the average time between each follow-up was 6.3 years.
"When compared to other approaches to functional testing, the sitting-rising test does not require specific equipment and is safe, easy to apply in a short time period (less than 2 minutes), and reliably scored,” explained Dr. Claudio Gil AraÃºjo in a prepared statement. “In our clinical practice, the test has been shown over the past ten years to be useful and practical for application to a large spectrum of populations, ranging from pediatric to geriatric."
During the study period, 159 subjects died, which resulted in a mortality rate of 7.9 percent. A large number of the deaths correlated with low test scores, with the sitting-rising test score acting as the most significant predictor of all-cause mortality. In particular, participants who scored in the lower score range demonstrated a five to six time higher risk of death. Scores lower than eight were related to two times higher death rate, and scores within the eight range had a lower risk of death.
"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,” noted AraÃºjo in the statement.
According to U.S. News, the study did not show a direct cause-and-effect relationship between death risk along with sitting-rising.
Even so, based on the findings, the researchers believe that the sitting-rising test could be helpful for primary care doctors who want to have a quick assessment of musculo-skeletal 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," remarked AraÃºjo in the statement.
The findings were recently published in the European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention.