About five years ago, I remember hearing of a study that was published about a fitness test that could predict your longevity. And the test was pretty simple. Could you go from a standing position, to sitting on the floor, and back to a standing position without using your arms to assist? If so, your risk of death was significantly lower than those who couldn’t. The leader of the study, a Brazilian physician Claudio Gil Araújo, said that “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.” I thought this study and fitness test was pretty cool but it was only performed on people between the ages of 51 and 80. So it got me thinking, are there similar tests that could be performed to predict your longevity for ages ranging outside this category.
While I did find a few different studies about fitness tests that predicted longevity (push-up capacity, walking speed, and grip strength) they each had their limitations. For the push-up capacity test, they never performed the test on women. And for the walking speed or grip strength test, it requires equipment to measure your speed or strength which everyone may not have access to. So, while not scientifically studied or proven, I did find a few easy-to-perform fitness tests based on your age that can be used to test your flexibility, strength, endurance and coordination. Therefore, I’m theorizing that these tests are likely predictors of longevity as well. Find your current age in one of the ranges below and see if you can complete it! Feel free to try the other tests as well and leave your results in the comments section below.
Note: Please consult your physician before performing any physical activities listed.
20’s and 30’s – Unassisted Pistol Squat
When you’re in your 20’s and 30’s, you’re at your physical peak. Therefore, this is likely the most difficult exercise on this list. The unassisted pistol squat requires you to fully squat down on one leg to where your butt almost hits the heel of your squatting leg. Your other leg and arms should be straight out in front of you for balance. You must not let your balancing leg or arms touch the ground throughout the duration of the move. Below, is a video demonstrating a successful pistol squat. Can you complete this test?
40’s – Aerobic Step Test
The aerobic step test involves finding a step or stool approximately 12 inches high and a stopwatch. To begin, you’ll step up onto the step, and then back down at a steady pace for 3 straight minutes. Then, wait and rest for 30 seconds. At the 30 second rest mark, take your pulse for 15 seconds (place your index and middle fingers together on the opposite wrist’s underside). Multiply it by four to get your heart rate. Males should have a heart rate lower than 81 beats per minute while women should have a rate lower than 88 beats per minute. I performed this test and I clocked in at 72.
50’s – Twenty Burpees
As popularized by CrossFit… burpees. A burpee is a move where you start from a standing position, squat down, lean forward into a flat back push-up position, jump back into a squat position, and then jump in the air. That’s one successful burpee. But, the question is, can you complete 20 straight burpees without resting? This is a dynamic move requiring flexibility, strength, endurance and coordination.
60’s – Sit and Rise
This is the test that inspired the blog post. The sit and rise test requires you to start from a standing position, cross your legs, lower yourself to a seated position, and then rise back into a standing position, all while not using your arms to assist. Below, is a successful sit and rise move. Try it for yourself!
70’s – Climb Four Floors of Stairs
This test requires a set of stairs, but does a good job testing your strength, endurance, flexibility, and coordination. The test simply involves climbing four flights of stairs at a brisk pace, without bracing yourself on a hand rail or stopping to rest. And, a study presented in 2018, found that participants that can complete this challenge are half as likely to die from cancer, and two thirds less likely to die from all other causes.
80’s – Pickup Twenty Pounds
This is a fairly straightforward test. All you’ll need is something that weighs approximately 20lbs. It could be a dumbbell, a bag of dog food, or two gallons of milk (non-dairy I hope). Put the item on the floor. Squat down, with a flat back and good form, and pick up the 20lb object off the ground and stand straight up. It’s more difficult than you think but be sure to use proper form as shown in the video below.
90+ – Balance with Standing Stork
This test is more balance focused. The standing stork requires you to start at a standing position. Then pick up one leg and put the bottom of that foot on the inside of your other leg’s calf muscle. Balance there for 10 seconds straight without falling or using an assist.
While none of these tests perfectly capture all of the components to longevity or fitness, they’re quick and fun self-screen tests that you can perform to gauge your flexibility, strength, endurance and coordination. And therefore, the better you are at completing these tests, the better chance you have at living a longer, healthier life. Have some fun with this and challenge your friends, family and coworkers to see where they stand.
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Hey, I am Brandon Zerbe
Welcome to myHealthSciences! My goal has always been to increase quality-of-life with healthy habits that are sustainable, efficient and effective. I do this by covering topics like Cognitive Health, Fitness, Nutrition, Sleep, Financial Independence and Minimalism. You can read more about me here.
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