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Sit-to-Stand Predicts Mortality in Older Adults

A person’s ability to get up from the floor may be a predictor of mortality, according to researchers from Clinimex Exercise Medicine Clinic in Rio de Janeiro.

The study, published in the European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention (2012; doi: 10.1177/2047487312471759), examined information from 2,000 adults, aged 51–80, from 1997 to 2011. Participants were asked to perform what researchers termed the sitting-rising test, a useful assessment of musculoskeletal fitness. Anyone currently playing sports or presenting with musculoskeletal limitations was excluded.

Participants were asked to go from a standing to a sitting position on the floor, and then to rise again. They were encouraged to do so without regard for speed. Each subject started with five points. Subjects lost a point for each support they used (hand, forearm, knee, etc.) and another half point if the evaluator deemed them unsteady at any stage of the movement.

During the 6.3-year intervention, 7.9% of subjects died. Analyzing data from the test, the researchers found that lower-scoring participants had a 5- to 6-times higher risk of mortality than those with better scores.

The scientists could not define a link between overall fitness, flexibility, the sitting-rising test and mortality. “It is reasonable to believe that a loss of mobility would adversely influence the ability to sit and to rise from the floor, and therefore result in a lower [test] score; while this is intuitive, this hypothesis requires confirmation.”

View the lead researcher administering the sitting-rising test at www.youtube.com/watch?v=MCQ2WA2T2oA.

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