The study had the participation of almost 2 thousand people and took place over a decade. In view of the results obtained, researchers suggest that it become part of routine exams performed on older people.
If you have difficulty balancing on one leg – the mythical 4 -, know that this could be a sign that something serious may be happening in your body.
In fact, middle-aged and elderly people who cannot balance on one leg for 10 seconds have almost as much double the probability to die in the period ten yearscompared to those that do, points to a new investigation.
How well a person can balance themselves seems to offer insight into the state of their health. Previous studies, for example, have suggested that an inability to balance on one leg is linked to a higher risk of strokewith others pointing out that poor balance is associated with mental decline (and dementia).
Recently, an international group of researchers from the UK, USA, Australia, Finland and Brazil completed a unpublished study of 12 years in which they examined the relationship between balance and mortality. Although the investigation had a strong observational component and it was not possible to establish the cause, the results were impressive.
According to the findings, the inability to stand on one leg for 10 seconds in mid-life or later is linked to a nearly doubling risk of death from any cause after ten years.
The results, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, are so serious that the researchers, led by Claudio Gil Araújoa Brazilian researcher at the Exercise Medicine Clinic, suggest that a balance test could be included in the health checks of the elderly.
according to The Guardianunlike aerobic fitness, muscle strength and flexibility, balance tends to be easily preserved until sixth decade of lifemark from which it starts to decrease relatively quickly.
However, balance assessment is usually not included in examinations for older people, possibly because there is no standardized version.
In the period between 2008 and 2020, a total of 1,702 people between 51 and 75 years of age and with stable gait were followed. In an initial phase, participants were asked to stand on one leg for 10 seconds without any additional support.
To standardize the test, they were asked to place the front of their free foot on the back of opposite leg, keeping your arms at your sides and your gaze straight ahead. were allowed until three attempts on either foot.
In the final balance, one in five (21%) failed the test. Over the next decade, 123 people died from various causes.
After accounting for age, sex and underlying conditions, the inability to stand without support on one leg for 10 seconds was associated with an increased risk of 84% of death from any cause.
The investigators noted that the study had limitations, including that the participants were all white Brazilianswhich means that the results may not be more widely transposed to other ethnicities and nations.
However, the researchers concluded that the 10-second balance test “provides a quick feedback and objective to the patient and health professionals regarding static balance” and “adds information Useful relative to the risk of mortality in middle-aged and older men and women”.