Aging brings with it a decline in physical aptitudes. While aerobic capacity, strength, and muscle flexibility begin to decline after age 50, balance remains reasonably good until age 55, when it begins to decline rapidly .

To find out how this parameter influences falls in older people and the risk of death that this entails, a group of international experts launched an observational study that has been published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine .

The research consisted of a simple balance test carried out between 2008 and 2020 in which 1,702 volunteers between the ages of 51 and 75 participated, of whom 68 percent were men. The study authors asked participants to stand on one leg for 10 seconds without any additional support . To minimize the influence of muscle strength and flexibility, and to improve standardization, barefoot participants were instructed to place the dorsal part of their unsupported foot on the back of the opposite lower leg, keeping their arms at their sides. sides of the body and gaze straight ahead.Once the participant assumed the correct position, a 10-second count was started and up to three attempts were allowed.

The result released by the experts ensures that not being able to balance on one leg for 10 seconds is related to almost double the probability of dying in ten years in older and middle-aged people, regardless of gender and age. , among other conditions. Thus, according to the results, middle-aged and older participants who were unable to complete the trial had lower survival for a median of 7 years compared with those who were able to complete the trial, with an 84% increased risk of all-cause mortality the causes.

The study also revealed that 4.7% of those between the ages of 51 and 55 could not complete the test compared to 8.1% of the participants between the ages of 56 and 60, 17.8% of the 61 and 65 years and 36.8% of those from 66 to 70 years. In the age group of 71 to 75 years, the majority of the participants (53.6%) could not successfully complete the exam.On the other hand, during a median follow-up period of seven years, 123 (7%) people died: cancer (32%); cardiovascular diseases (30%); respiratory diseases (9%); and complications from covid-19 (7%), reports Efe .

The proportion of deaths among those who failed the test was significantly higher: 17.5% versus 4.5% , reflecting an absolute difference of about 13%.

In general, those who failed the test were in poorer health : a higher proportion were obese and/or suffered from heart disease, high blood pressure, and unhealthy blood fat profiles. Type 2 diabetes was three times more common in this group: 38% vs. 13%.

The study used data from the CLINIMEX open-label exercise evaluation/cohort protocol, which was established in 1994 to assess the relationships of various measures of physical fitness and other exercise-related variables, as well as conventional cardiovascular risk factors with mortality outcomes. for all causes and specific causes. Furthermore, all participants were fully ambulated.

As experts have warned , this is an observational study and, as such, cannot establish the cause , and since all the participants were white Brazilians, the results may not be more applicable to other ethnicities and nations.

In addition, information on potentially influencing factors such as recent history of falls, physical activity levels, diet, smoking, and drug use was not available.

The researchers recommend routine application of a simple and safe static balance test, as it can provide useful information about mortality risk in middle-aged and older men and women. In the world 684,000 people die every year from falls at home .

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