Interested in predicting how long you’ll live? Hop on the treadmill. That’s according to researchers from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, who have developed a formula they say can be used to predict 10-year survival.

To develop this formula, the researchers studied data for 58,020 individuals aged 18–96, who underwent standard exercise stress testing between 1991 and 2009 to determine how well their heart and lungs responded to walking at increasing speeds. Subjects were required to be free of heart disease.

The researchers tracked mortality rates over the next decade. Results of the stress test, along with exercise, demographic, clinical and mortality data, were used to determine a “FIT Treadmill Score” for each participant.

Fitness level was the best predictor of death and survival. The researchers noted that a specific calculation—(percentage of maximum predicted heart rate + 12[metabolic equivalents of task] – 4[age] + 43 [if female])—was exceedingly accurate at predicting future mortality.

“The FIT Treadmill Score is easy to calculate and costs nothing beyond the cost of the treadmill test itself,” said lead author Michael Blaha, MD, MPH, director of clinical research at the Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease. “We hope the score will become a mainstay in cardiologists’ and primary clinicians’ offices as a meaningful way to illustrate risk among those who undergo cardiac stress testing and propel people with poor results to become more physically active.”

The report was published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings (2015; 90 [3], 346–55).

Ryan Halvorson

Ryan Halvorson is an award-winning writer and editor. He is a long-time author and presenter for IDEA Health & Fitness Association, fitness industry consultant and former director of group training for Bird Rock Fit. He is also a Master Trainer for TriggerPoint.

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