This simple test could warn of an early death

If you’re the type of person spends yoga classes wobbling around like sapling in a storm (and if so, we can relate) then we have bad news, because researchers have said that people who cannot stand on one leg for ten seconds are almost twice as likely to die within the next decade. Fabulous.

As a result of the study, scientists say the ‘simple and safe’ balancing test should be used in GP clinics during routine health checks for older adults, in order to pinpoint those with a shorter life expectancy.

standing on one leg
Image: Getty

The study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, was carried out by experts from universities and clinics in the UK, US, Finland, Australia and Brazil.

They asked 1,702 middle-aged people to stand on one leg for ten seconds, with up to three attempts allowed.

Once age, sex and underlying conditions were taken into account, failing the test was linked with an 84 per cent increased risk of dying within ten years.

Overall, 20.5 per cent of participants failed the test, with the likelihood of doing so increasing as they got older. After age 70, people were more likely than not to fail the test.

During on average seven years of follow-up, 123 of the participants died from causes including cancer, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease and complications of Covid-19. Among those who failed the test, 17.5 per cent died, compared with 4.5 per cent of those who passed — a 288 per cent higher risk.

It’s worth noting that the study is observational, and cannot prove cause and effect. However, if anything has encouraged us to return to the Pilates mat, it’s this!