Doctor Shares 1 Easy Test That Could Determine Your Lifespan

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A doctor has shared one quick and easy physical test that she claims could determine your lifespan. If you struggle to do it, you may be at higher risk for serious health problems. So, can you do it? Read on to find out!

Natalie Azar
Dr. Natalie Azar (Photo Credit: Screenshot)

Dr. Natalie Azar, an NBC News medical contributor and a Clinical Associate Professor at NYU, appeared on the TODAY show and shared that a person’s ability to perform one physical activity could dictate their life expectancy, depending on how well they can perform the exercise. It only takes a few seconds to perform, and it’s backed by a 2014 study by the European Society of Cardiology.

The exercise is called the sit-to-stand, and as the name implies, it requires participants to stand up and sit down. However, it may not be as easy as it sounds because participants must perform the activity without using their hands or arms. As the exercise is attempted, a point system is used. The person is given a score of 10 at the beginning, the NY Post explained. If the activity isn’t performed perfectly, points are lost.

Natalie Azar
Dr. Natalie Azar shared the sit-to-stand test, which could indicate a person’s life expectancy. (Photo Credit: Screenshot)

Before we explain exactly how the test is performed, we must offer a word of caution. People with bad hips or knees shouldn’t perform it. That said, to begin the test, the person is in a standing position in a clear space with a flat floor, preferably with their shoes off. One leg is then crossed in front of the other. From this position, they must sit down on the ground cross-legged without using their hands, arms, or other body parts to make the position change easier.

If you lose your balance, you lose half a point, according to an instructional video from Vive Health. Similarly, if you have to use one hand, you lose a point. “For every limb, knee, hand [that] you use, you lose a point,” Coach Kim, a certified personal trainer, explains in the instructional video. In this phase, you can lose up to 5 points, but the test isn’t over yet.

Once seated, the participant must stand back up. Again, they are not permitted to use their hands, arms, or any other body part. If they do, just like in the first phase of the test, they lose points. A perfect score is a 10 out of 10, where no points are lost in either phase, meaning the participant was able to perform the activity without losing their balance or requiring additional assistance from their limbs.

The test is an indicator of musculoskeletal fitness, which is important for everyday tasks such as tying one’s shoes. However, there are even bigger implications, involving longevity. According to the previously mentioned 2014 study by the European Society of Cardiology, participants aged 51-80 years old would likely die sooner if they were unable to perform the sit-to-stand test.

According to a 2014 study by the European Society of Cardiology, participants aged 51–80 years old would likely die sooner if they were unable to perform the sit-to-stand test. (Photo Credit: Pixabay stock image for visual representation only)

“The study found that the lower the score, you were seven times more likely to die in the next six years,” Dr. Natalie Azar explained when she shared the test during an appearance on Today. “It’s an indirect marker of your health,” Dr. Azar added. “As we get older, we spend time talking about cardiovascular health and aerobic fitness, but balance, flexibility, and agility are also really important,” she continued.

According to Dr. Azar, “Eight points or higher is what you want.” However, if someone is unable to perform the test without receiving a score of 7 or lower, they shouldn’t fear. Instead, the person should practice and keep moving, which will improve their performance. However, you don’t have to take Dr. Natalie Azar’s word for it. Seven years before the doctor shared the test on TODAY, BBC One was promoting the test as an indicator of life expectancy.

Although the test isn’t perfect, since it doesn’t account for musculoskeletal limitations or other issues that may hinder one from being able to perform sit-to-stand unassisted, it does indicate one’s balance, flexibility, and agility, which are integral to overall health. However, most of the time, when overall health is discussed, the focus is on cardiovascular health. However, a morning run might not be enough.

Instead, we need to keep all of our body’s systems functioning properly, including our musculoskeletal system, which will keep our body functioning well and allow us to remain physically independent as we age. Thankfully, that’s fairly easy to achieve by including plenty of physical activity in our daily routines, whether that’s walking, biking, weightlifting, planks, squats, swimming, or even gardening. In short, if you get your body moving, you will likely live not only a more fulfilling and active life but a longer one too. Oh, and don’t forget to stretch!