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Your Healthy Family: 10 second balance test to tell if you'll live longer life

Posted at 8:20 AM, Jan 16, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-16 08:20:22-05

A recent study shows if you can balance on one leg for ten seconds, chances are you'll live longer.

The study looked at 7,200 people ages 50-75. Researchers asked them to stand on one leg for ten seconds.

Internal Medicine Doctor Wendy Day wasn't involved in the study, but said balance is important to overall health.

"It has to do specifically with fall risk, which we in the medical field know that this has to do with mortality in general,” Dr. Day, from UCHealth said.

She said with baby boomers growing older, we have a huge population of people at risk.

Fox 4 Morning Anchor Lisa Greenberg did the balance test herself and said it's harder than it looks. But how does a person's ability to balance for ten seconds relate to living longer?

"When people fall, all kinds of bad things happen. Fractures, osteoporotic fractures, spinal fractures, and hip fractures, which result in hospitalization. With hospitalization, all kinds of things can happen, like heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia," Dr. Day said.

At what age should you start to pay attention to your ability to balance?

“What {researchers} found is that things really started to go downhill around age 60. And so very low risk, under 10 percent, in the 50-60 range, and then it started going up to upwards of 54 percent. Interestingly, the 70-75 age group, failed the test," she said.

Dr. Day said there are ways to improve your balance at any age.

"It's a lot simpler than people think. Number one, you can exercise, and this is where we have all kinds of data that shows exercise helps cardiovascular health. And when it comes to balance, you can do simple things like yoga, tai chi, dancing. I'm talking about fun things, really any type of movement that is side to side mobility is really helpful for balance. Strength training,” she said.