The ability to maintain balance while standing on one leg is a sign that a person is unlikely to die soon, an international team of scientists from the UK, USA, Australia, Finland and Brazil discovered. A large study they did found that middle-aged and older people who are unable to balance while standing on one leg for 10 seconds are almost twice as likely to die within 10 years than those who are. capable. This is reported by The Guardian with reference to the British Journal of Sports Medicine .
The ability to hold the pose of a tree by physiologists was previously considered an indicator of health. In previous studies, for example, the inability to balance on one leg has been associated with an increased risk of stroke. In addition, such people perform worse on intelligence tests that are carried out to diagnose dementia.
The new study, which examined the relationship between balance ability and mortality, was conducted over a period of 12 years. Between 2008 and 2020, 1,702 people aged 51 to 75 with a stable gait took part in it. At the start, participants were asked to stand on one leg for 10 seconds without any additional support. To standardize the test, they were asked to bring their free leg back and place it on the shin of the leg with which they rested on the floor. Up to three attempts were given for each leg.
One in five (21%) failed the test. Over the next decade, 123 people died from various causes. It turned out that, after taking into account age, sex and comorbidities, the inability to stand on one leg without support for 10 seconds increased the risk of death from any cause in the next 10 years by 84%.
The study was observational, and its authors did not set themselves the goal of establishing the reasons for such statistics. However, its results are so telling that scientists are proposing to include a static balance test in routine physical examinations of the elderly.