The Up and Down Test

Mortality risk linked to sitting and standing capability

(RxWiki News) Get off that chair and try sitting on the floor. How well you're able to do that and stand back up can say a lot about your fitness and depict your chances of dying. 

The ability to sit and rise up from the ground is linked with the risk of dying, according to a recently published study.

On top of that, the test may be a quick way for doctors to measure patients' muscular and skeletal fitness, researchers said.

"Stretch out on the floor rather than a chair."

The study, led by Claudio Gil Araújo and colleagues from the Clinimex - Exercise Medicine Clinic in Rio de Janeiro, tested how well more than 2000 participants were able to sit on the floor and stand back up without help.

Participants were between 51 and 80 years of age and were tested through the course of their lives until death or by the end of the study in October 2011. Researchers rated their ability to sit and get up on a 5-point scale. Points were taken away each time the participants supported themselves with their hands, knees and other body parts for assistance.

By the end of the study, 159 or almost 8 percent of the participants died, and most had low test scores. Only two of those who died had a full score of 10. Those who had a low score between 0 and 3.5 were five to six times more likely of dying compared to the rest of the groups.

Scores less than 8 meant were linked with a two-fold increase in the chance of dying over the course of the study compared to those who scored higher.

"It is well known that aerobic fitness is strongly related to survival, but our study also shows that maintaining high levels of body flexibility, muscle strength, power-to-body weight ratio and coordination are not only good for performing daily activities but have a favorable influence on life expectancy," Dr. Araújo said in a press release.

The test may "reflect the capacity to successfully perform a wide range of activities of daily living, such as bending over to pick up a newspaper or a pair of glasses from under a table," researchers said in a press release. The higher the results, the more successful the participants.

The authors note that participants have to have the flexibility and coordination to sit and stand in order to take the test, which may skew the results. Physical fitness may also affect results.

"When compared to other approaches to functional testing, the sitting-rising test does not require specific equipment and is safe, easy to apply in a short time period (less than 2 minutes), and reliably scored," Dr. Araújo said.

"In our clinical practice, the test has been shown over the past ten years to be useful and practical for application to a large spectrum of populations, ranging from pediatric to geriatric."

The study was published online December 13 in the European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention. Grants and scholarships from CNPq-Brazil funded the study. No conflicts of interest were reported. 

Review Date: 
December 14, 2012