Healthy

Study Says 10-Second Balance Test Can Indicate Overall Health

When was the last time you tested your balance during a routine physical examination?

There is some evidence that it may be worth the effort. Researchers examined whether one-legged stances were an excellent general health indicator, and now scientists hope to add this test to regular doctor visits.

Researchers studied 1,702 people aged 51 to 75 between 2008 and 2020 about their ability to stand for 10 seconds on one leg. Participants stood on one leg with the free leg crossed over and arms at their sides. They got three chances to complete the balance task.

Over 20 percent of participants couldn’t perform the balance, and aging made them less likely to do so. Most of those who failed the test had higher body weights, cardiovascular disease, or high cholesterol.

Researchers estimated that individuals who couldn’t stand on one leg for 10 seconds had an 84% greater risk of death over the next seven years after adjusting for age, gender, and existing health conditions.

According to the study authors, completing a 10-second balance does not prevent heart disease, diabetes, or other diseases. Robert Parisien, the M.D. orthopedic sports surgeon, said, “People who completed the 10-second one-legged stance had a lower risk of falling, thus an overall lower mortality risk.”

How Does Balance Contribute To Overall Health?

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Dr. Gladstone says balance issues are usually related to weakness associated with an underlying illness, injury, or inactivity. The cause of muscle weakness and coordination can be nerve damage in the spine or legs.

A lack of balance can make you more likely to fall, according to Dr. Gladstone, when it comes to balance issues.

World Health Organization reports that falls are the second leading cause of unintentional injury deaths worldwide, and older adults experience the most falls.

Tips For Improving Your Balance

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Balance issues can be improved by first identifying what causes them. Dr. Parisien says you can then plan how to handle your concerns with your healthcare provider.

You may need to increase your calcium or vitamin D intake and do some exercises if you have bone density issues.

Strengthening and stabilizing the muscles can treat muscle problems. The key to maintaining good leg strength is to keep active every day.