A new Australian study has suggested that a simple 10-second test can tell if there's double the chance of dying from any cause over the next decade.
In a study conducted by the University of Sydney, the Australian university has shared research that suggests that those over 50 year old, who are unable or struggle to balance one one leg for 10 seconds, have a higher risk of dying early.
According to the authors of the study, they believe that the simple test should be made part of a regular health check for older adults.
In the study, participants were told to place the front of one of their feet on the back of the lower part of the opposite leg, and to keep their arms by their sides with their sight fixed on a spot straight ahead of them.
“The availability of simple, inexpensive, reliable and safe balance assessment tools that could help predict survival would potentially be beneficial to health professionals evaluating and treating older adults,” the study said, as per News.com.au.
According to the research, the study included 1702 participants aged between 51 and 75, with two thirds of the group being male. And apparently, one in five people of the group failed the test.
The researchers said that those who failed the test likely had poorer health, and that a higher proportion of the group were considered obese or suffered from heart disease, high blood pressure and unhealthy blood fat profiles.
Peer reviewed and published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, the report also claims that Type 2 diabetes was three times as common in the group who failed the test.
And participants who were unable to stand unsupported on one leg were linked to an 84 per cent increase in risk of death over the next ten years—with the proportion of deaths in those who failed the test sitting at 17.5 per cent compared to 4.5 per cent of those who passed the test.
“Each year an estimated 684,000 individuals die from falls globally, of which over 80 per cent are in low or middle-income countries,” the study said.
“While it is known that good levels of balance are relevant for many daily life activities there is considerable evidence that loss of balance is also detrimental for health and that some exercise interventions may improve balance."
“In our 13 years of clinical experience routinely using the 10-s OLS static balance test in adults with a wide age range and diverse clinical conditions, the test has been remarkably safe, well-received by the participants, and importantly, simple to incorporate in our routine practice as it requires less than one or two minutes to be applied.”
It's time to get balancing, but if you're struggling to do so, a trip to the doctor could be helpful in finding out why.