Tag Archives: research

Will I live to 66?

Fran Benson standing on one leg
Fran Benson standing on one leg

This morning when I got up I decided to look into my crystal ball and see whether I was going to live to a ripe old age.

We’re talking a metaphorical crystal ball – contrary to rumours I’m not a witch or of any mystical persuasion.  But last night in bed as I sat reading the paper (you see how exciting life gets the other side of 45?) I read of a study by the Medical Research Council (in The Daily Telegraph) that tracked people throughout their lives over the last 60 years.

At 53 years of age they completed a set of tests and later this was used to identify from those results the likelihood of dying before the age of 66.

So what were the tests? There were three of them.  The first being to balance on one leg with eyes shut.  The second was to stand up from a chair (a dining chair is fine) and sit down as many times within one minute and the third was to squeeze a special device that recorded the hand strength.

The results of the three tests were then added together to calculate an overall score.

I don’t have one of those squeezy hand thingies (an electronic handgrip dynamometer if you want to know) but I decided to try out the other two exercises.

So what was I aiming for here? Well the research indicated that those who were able to hold their balance for less than two seconds were three times more likely to die before 66 yrs of age than those who could hold it for ten seconds or more.  And if they couldn’t do it at all, then I think they were advised to cash in their pension early. (No, of course they weren’t told that but you can read the serious report in the link above).

The sitting down and standing up test showed (for women) that if they could do it fewer than 22 times per minute they were twice as likely to die as those who could do it more.

I must admit I did jump out of bed last night to try the balancing on one leg test and managed 11 seconds.  Pleased with that and reassured that I would live till morning I decided to do both experiments properly after breakfast.

So here’s the results.

Standing on one leg (left): 32 seconds

Standing on one leg (right): 25 seconds

Standing up and sitting down in one minute: 42

I think those results are pretty good.  I’m a bit younger than the group measured (by seven years) but I’m hoping that the margin of increase keeps me at the fittest end of the scale which lowers my risk for various things and yes I really do need to sort my pension out.

So go on, give it a try and tweet me how you get on @mumontherum.