Thursday, 4 June 2015

Simple sit-and-rise test predicts how long you'll live

Sit, stand, work out how long you'll live
By Gilaine Ng, The Straits Times, 3 Jun 2015

WANT an estimate of how long you will live?

Just sit on the floor and stand up. The concept may seem remarkably simple, but it can actually predict how long a person will live, according to Dr Claudio Gil Araujo.

The 59-year-old Brazilian physician is the inventor of the sitting-rising (fitness) test, also known as SRT.

Although simple, the basic movements of lowering to the floor and standing back up actually serve to gauge a person's physical fitness.

This includes components such as muscular strength, flexibility, balance and muscle composition.

It is easy. Participants just need to "sit on the floor and stand, nothing else", said Dr Araujo at Changi General Hospital, where he delivered a seminar yesterday.

Each movement is scored on a scale of 1 to 5, and one point is subtracted if a hand or knee is used for support.

In a study, results showed that those with a score of between 0 and 3 are more than five times as likely to die within the next six years than those who scored between 8 and 10.

"We prescribe individualised exercise regimes according to the test results," said Dr Araujo.

Other innovative fitness tests were also introduced at the seminar, which was part of the Exercise is Medicine Singapore (EIMS) programme to promote physical activity. These include the Flexi-test, which measures the flexibility in joints by having participants mimic a number of positions.

Another example, the four-second exercise test (4sET), involves participants riding on a bike for 12 seconds. It measures heart rates to predict mortality.

Dr Araujo said these tests show that you do not need sophisticated and expensive equipment to conduct good tests.

He said of the sitting-rising test: "If you lose balance, you lose a point. It is very straightforward and simple for patients to understand the results.

"You can even do a self-assessment, all you need is enough space."

The director of Changi Sports Medicine Centre, Dr Kelvin Chew, echoed the sentiment.

"The SRT is easy to implement and will be able to impact a huge public. It has also been validated and proven to be reliable, so we have more confidence in implementing the test in Singapore," he said.

"It would also be useful as a simple screening test to identify those who need more exercise, especially given our ageing population," he added.

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