05 Apr ARE YOU A FLAMINGO?
CHECK YOUR LONGEVITY WITH THESE EASY TESTS
Guess how long flamingoes live? It seems on average they live 20-30 years and could live up to 50 years in a zoo. I’m not advocating unnatural environments but for a bird, even living 20-30 years in the wild is a long lifespan. And flamingoes sleep standing on one leg i.e. eyes closed while standing on one leg.
Guess what? Researchers have found that one way to evaluate your longevity is to test if you can stand on one leg with your eyes closed for 10 seconds or more.
A paper published in the British Medical Journal in 2014 based on a 13-year study where 1,355 men and 1,411 women were tested in 1999 when they were 53 years old and then checked 13 years later to see who was alive and well.
The study used these three tests:
Standing Balance Test – Stand on one leg with eyes closed. Can you do this for 10 seconds or longer?
Grip-strength Test – An electronic handgrip dynamometer was used to test ability to apply pressure. The best result for men was 54.5 kg and for women 33.9kg.
Not entirely scientific but as a home test, a strong, firm handshake could indicate your longevity.
Chair Test – How many times can you stand up and sit down in a chair within one minute?
For men in the study, the lowest risk of early death was more than 39 times a minute and for women more than 36 times.
From the findings of the study, if you perform well in all three tests when you are around the age of 53, you are likely to be healthy and vibrant 13 years later.
A person around age 53 who can complete the tests successfully is estimated to be up to 5 times more likely to be alive and well 13 years later than someone who can’t complete the tests or who does them poorly.
An interesting aside from this study is that there was some evidence that the standing balance time was more strongly associated with mortality than the other two measures. So if you only do one test, opt for the standing balance test and imagine you’re a flamingo!
Reference: Cooper R, Strand BH, Hardy R, Patel KV, Kuh D. Physical capability in mid-life and survival over 13 years of follow-up: British birth cohort study. BMJ 2014;348:g2219