Wednesday, December 26, 2012

How Good Are You At The 'Sitting And Rising Test'?

Muscular strength and flexibility matter, beyond having the best pecs, legs, or beach bod in the neighborhood. (Hey, we just told you about the anti-inflammatory effects of weight-lifting!) A recent study out of Brazil used a simple "sit down and get back up" test and found that scoring highly on that routine is closely related to one's fitness and longevity.

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.

The studied followed 2,002 people for about six and a half years. 159 of the people had passed away by the study's end, and all but two of them had scored low on the "SRT" test. (It would have been nice to know how many of the 1,843 survivors had also scored low on the test. A study author pointed out in some comments that almost half of people – and they were 51 to 80 years old – scored well on sitting down and popping back up.)

Here's a link to a video describing and showing the test.

Before starting the test, [each of the subjects] 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."

Each of the two basic movements were assessed and scored out of 5, with one point being subtracted from 5 for each support used (hand or knee, for example). Subjects were thus assessed by a composite score of 0 to 10, which, for the sake of the analysis, was ranked as four categories (C1, 0–3; C2, 3.5–5.5; C3, 6–7.5; and C4, 8–10).

The test was also a very accurate predictor from a fine-grained standpoint. Each one-point increment in the score represented a "21% reduction in mortality."

The study's researchers made the point that physical strength and power to weight ratio are core features of survivability.

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 favourable influence on life expectancy.

The study was initiated in Brazil and published in the European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention.