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The Balance and Longevity Connection

Scientific confirmation for a 10-second, one-legged assessment.

Trainer helping older woman with balance for longevity

Are you including a balance assessment in your routine client intakes? If not, start now. New research suggests that balance and longevity are linked. People ages 50 and older who have poor balance have a higher likelihood of death from any cause. An international research group analyzed data from 1,702 people ages 51–75 years over a 12-year period that included results from a 10-second, one-legged stand test, biometrics and incidence of death. Data analysis shows that the ability to successfully complete the 10-second, one-legged stand test was independently associated with less risk of early death.

While the research does not establish a causal link between balance and longevity, some experts think that balance ability reflects muscular endurance, body composition, functional ability, cognitive health and more, so it can be an indicator of overall health.

The study is available in the British Journal of Sports Medicine (2022; doi:10.1136/bjsports-2021-105360).).

See also: Training for Balance and Function Reduces Falls Among Older Adults

Balance and Longevity: What Do You Think?

The emphasis on balance or core training seems to ebb and flow with fitness trends. What, if any, balance training programs are you offering? Is it integrated into other types of training and, if so, what types? Or, is balance training being offered as a stand-alone program for older adults? Tell us about your experiences.

We want to hear from you! Email executive editor Joy Keller, [email protected].

Shirley Archer, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is an internationally acknowledged integrative health and mindfulness specialist, best-selling author of 16 fitness and wellness books translated into multiple languages and sold worldwide, award-winning health journalist, contributing editor to Fitness Journal, media spokesperson, and IDEA's 2008 Fitness Instructor of the Year. She's a 25-year industry veteran and former health and fitness educator at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, who has served on multiple industry committees and co-authored trade books and manuals for ACE, ACSM and YMCA of the USA. She has appeared on TV worldwide and was a featured trainer on America's Next Top Model.

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