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Does the ability to stand on one leg predict the risk of immediate death?

Some doctors say that health care for the elderly should include a “flamingo balance test.” This requires you to stand on one leg for 10 seconds, but the relationship between balance and health is not clear.


June 22, 2022

How important is the ability to stand on one leg?

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According to this week’s survey, people who are middle-aged or older and unable to balance for 10 seconds on one leg are more likely to die in the next 7 years than those who can. What is the explanation, and should people practice standing on one leg at home? This is what science says:

What did the study investigate?

People between the ages of 51 and 75 were asked to stand on one foot for 10 seconds with one foot touching the calf of the other. It’s like a flamingo. Those who could not do this had a higher mortality rate over the next 7 years than those who completed it: 17.5 percent vs. 4.6 percent. About 1,700 people based in Brazil participated in the survey, most of whom were white.

Can the findings be related to other factors than health?

They were able. For example, passing this balance test tends to worsen with age, and the older you are, the more likely you are to die. Most people over the age of 70 were unable to complete the test. However, even when the results are adjusted for factors such as age, weight, gender, and health, the mortality rate for those who fail the balance test is almost double, and the risk of death is 84% ​​higher. Study period.

Why do doctors ask people to do this test?

Seeing if people can stand on one leg has long been used to test balance.The waterfall Major murderers of the elderlyUsually, if you fall, you may have a broken hip and need surgery, and some people may not be able to regain their previous mobility. “It can be a spiral,” he says. David Stensel At Loughborough University, UK.

So was the death in this study related to falls?

It is not clear how much the fall contributed to the deaths of the 123 participants who died during the study. The main causes of death were cancer, heart disease, and respiratory illness, including covid-19. Fall and recovery from surgery may contribute to some of these deaths. For example, a person who is stuck may have worse heart disease, but no such factor has been recorded.

How else can balance be associated with mortality?

The ability to stand on one leg depends not only on balance, but also on overall fitness and leg strength related to fitness, says Stensel. For example, people with heart disease or cancer tend to be less active and lose leg strength. “The ability to balance can be related to foot strength, which is related to overall strength and fitness,” he says.

Are the findings amazing?

Previous studies have shown that similar tests can provide clues about our health. For example, high heart disease mortality in the elderly correlates with slow walking speed. Walk 6 meters as fast as possible..Overall mortality is also of people Ability to sit on the floor and stand up.. Perhaps even more surprisingly, the risk of death also correlates with reduced grip strength, requiring someone to grip the test device as tightly as possible. According to some studies..

Should doctors start asking people to do the test?

Researchers led by Claudio Gil Arauho of the Clinimex Sports Medicine Clinic in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, said in a paper, “There is potential benefit to including testing as part of a regular health checkup for middle-aged and older adults. There is. ” “It takes less than a minute or two, so it’s easy to incorporate into your day-to-day work,” they say. But in a country like the UK where medical services are already expanding, busy family doctors may not have the time.

How can I improve my balance?

Overall fitness and fitness may influence the link between passing the flamingo balance test and risk of death, so this study shows that trying to improve balance can lead to longer life. Is not …Probably muscle in the elderly Strength is the most important fitness goal, Stensel says. “We all only have so much time a day.”

But well-balanced people say they are less likely to fall Uzoe Hiogu, A spokesperson for the British Physical Therapy Association. If you want to improve your balance, Physio advises older people to do simple exercises such as walking side by side like a tightrope or standing on one leg.

Journal reference: British Journal of Sports Medicine, DOI: 10.1136 / bjsports-2021-105360

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Does the ability to stand on one leg predict the risk of immediate death?

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