It’s all about balance.
New research has shown that people in their middle years who are unable to balance for more than 10 second on either leg have an increased chance of death within seven years.
Researchers asked 1702 Brazilians between 51 and 75 years old to complete the 10-second test. Then, they tracked their health for the next decade.
The study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine on Wednesday, asserts that the simple test should be included during a person’s annual physical as it provides “useful information regarding mortality risk in middle-aged and older men and women.”
The so-called “flamingo test,”Participants were asked to keep their feet on one side and lift the other, in order to resemble the bright pink birds. They had to maintain their head straight and keep their arms at their sides for the duration of the exercise.
20% of 1,702 people failed the test.
It is no surprise that the test becomes more challenging with age. Only 5% failed the test between 51 and 55 years old, and 54% of those between 71 and 75.
The researchers discovered that in addition to being older, people who failed to pass the test were also more likely than others to be obese and to have diabetes.
The average time between the first and seventh years was seven years. 7% had died. 17.5% of the people who failed to complete the test died. This compares to just 5% who passed the test.
Researchers concluded that there were an “84% higher risk of all-cause mortality”If you are not able to do the flamingo testing, “even when other potentially confounding variables such as age, sex and BMI… were taken into account.”
“We regularly need … a one-legged posture, to move out of a car, to climb or to descend a step or stair and so on. To not have this ability or being afraid in doing so, it is likely related to loss of autonomy and, in consequence, less exercise and the snowball starts,” study author Dr. Claudio Gil Araújo, of the Exercise Medicine Clinic CLINIMEX in Rio de Janeiro, told CNN.
People took to Twitter and shared their views, drawing attention from the media.
“Easily passing the flamingo test. Looks like you’re all stuck with me for another 7 years,” one cocky Twitter user gloated.
However, others claimed the test was too generalized and didn’t account for a variety of nuances that were likely to affect results.
“How many people with MS and many other medical issues are looking at the flamingo test and laughing. A lot of us haven’t been able to do that for yrs and we’re still here,” a skeptic wrote.
The full article is available here here