Simple Sitting Test May Help Predict Longevity
Brazilian researchers have revealed a simple test that may help predict your longevity in the next six or so years: how well you can sit and rise from the floor.
The new test, a sitting-rising test (SRT), involves a score of 0-5 for each movement (sitting and rising), with a combined 10 being the highest score, awarded for those who can sit and rise from the floor without any assistance from their hands or knees.
Getting Up and Down Easily from the Floor is a Marker of Longevity
The SRT test, which can be used on middle-aged and elderly adults, is incredibly simple. Sit down on the floor, and then get up, using as little assistance from your hands, knees, or other body parts as possible. For each body part that you use for support, you’ll lose one point from the possible top score of 10.
For instance, if you put one hand on the floor for support to sit down, then use a knee and a hand to help you get up, you’ll “lose” three points for a combined score of 7. What do the numbers mean? They correlated strongly with participants’ risk of death during the study period of just over six years. For each unit increase in SRT score, participants gained a 21 percent improvement in survival.
- Those who scored 0-3 were 6.5 times more likely to die during the study than those who scored 8-10
- Those who scored 3.5 to 5.5 were 3.8 times more likely to die
- Those who scored 6 to 7.5 were 1.8 times more likely to die
The results provide an interesting perspective on the connection between mobility and health and can provide encouragement for many to get back in shape.
What is it that Makes the Sitting-Rising Test so Useful?
Quite simply, it’s a measure of your fitness at the most basic level, testing not only muscular strength but also flexibility, balance, and motor coordination. All of these attributes are essential for day-to-day living, and for maintaining your independence as you age.
And though the study didn’t measure this directly, there’s quite a good chance that those who are capable of easily sitting and standing without assistance are also those who engage in regular physical activity, which is helping to keep them agile and healthy.
In fact, according to research published in the American Journal of Physiology, the best way to stay young is to simply start exercising, as it triggers mitochondrial biogenesis, a decline of which is common in aging. This reverses significant age-associated declines in mitochondrial density, and in effect, stops aging in its tracks.
Increasing Mitochondrial Activity via Regular Exercise May Help Keep You Young
Aside from impacting your skeletal muscle and fat tissue, researchers noted that exercise induces mitochondrial changes that may also benefit your liver, brain, and kidneys. The mitochondria is the “power plant” of your cells, responsible for generating the energy that drives all metabolic functions.
Increasing mitochondrial activity is extremely important because free radicals, which are toxic byproducts of metabolism as well as exposures to chemicals, pollutants, and other toxins, can overwhelm your body’s defenses, leading to oxidative damage to cells and tissues that can destroy cellular proteins, lipids, and DNA; this process often leads directly to the loss of mitochondrial function.
Too Much Sitting is Especially Damaging
Even if you exercise regularly, sitting for long periods is also correlated with a shorter lifespan. Unfortunately, most people spend a large portion of each day in a seated position. It’s hard to avoid these days, as computer work predominates, and most also spend many precious hours each week commuting to and from work, and then watching TV or surfing the Web.
Recent research estimates that if you cut back on the amount of time spent sitting to less than three hours a day, it could add two years to your life expectancy.
Arguably, those who spend the most time sitting and the least amount of time exercising are also those who are likely going to score lower on the sitting-rising test. If you haven’t already, it is recommended to try the sitting-rising test for yourself.
Simple Tips for Improving Your Longevity
One of the key things you can do to extend not only the sheer quantity of your years, but more importantly the quality, is to make a few simple changes to your lifestyle. One of the most important changes is optimizing your insulin function through diet and exercise. Regulating your insulin and leptin levels in this way have been found to be key factors in slowing down the aging process. Consuming sugar and grains will increase your insulin level, which is the equivalent of slamming your foot on your aging accelerator.
Previous research has shown that you can extend your lifespan by reducing your caloric intake, but the problem is that most people do not understand how to properly cut calories. In order to remain healthy, you have to cut out calories from a specific source – namely, carbohydrates.
Protein intake should be about one gram per kilogram of lean body mass or less than half a gram per pound of lean body mass. Most people are currently consuming two to three times this much. The key to success with this anti-aging strategy is not necessarily to reduce your calories but replace the missing carbs and protein with healthy fats such as butter, olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, the fat from pastured animals, or nuts.