A Quick Strength Test to Predict Your Future Life

Older people typically have trouble with ordinary motions such as bending down to pick up something off the floor. Reduced muscle power, stiffness and loss of balance can greatly increase the risk of dangerous falls and lead to even more catastrophic outcomes for a person's mortality.

The Sitting Rising Test (SRT) is an accurate marker of longevity in older adults (anyone over 50 years of age). The test is a combined assessment of co-ordination, strength, balance and mobility.

In one study* of 2,000 subjects between the ages of 51 and 80, people who scored fewer than eight points on the test were twice as likely to die within the next six years compared with those who scored higher; those who scored three or fewer points were more than five times as likely to die within the same period compared with those who scored more than eight points. Overall, each point increase in the SRT score was associated with a 21 percent decrease in mortality from all causes. 

Sobering statistics to anyone. But a vital indicator of the relationship between strength and life, and a powerful motivator to keep those muscles strong.

To take the test your instructions are: "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."

The maximum possible score is 10: 5 points for sitting down and 5 points for getting back up. If you use a hand, forearm, knee, or the side of their leg on the ground, or your hand on your own knee, one point is deducted for each.

An additional 0.5 points is deducted if you are unsteady or partially lose of balance.

Test yourself and see how you get on.  If you don't score well then visit a physiotherapist for help to start a strengthening and mobility program. Your life depends upon it.

*Barbosa Barreto de Brito et al, 2012. Ability to sit and rise from the floor as a predictor of all cause mortality. European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, 21(7), 892-898.