Can you balance yourself by standing on one leg for more than 10 seconds?

If you are unable to, you stand the risk of dying from any cause within the next 10 years, a new study published recently in the British Journal of Sports Medicine has found.

The study, which took place between 2009 and 2020, involved 1,702 people aged between 51 and 75 in Brazil, who were asked to balance unsupported on one leg by placing the front of the free foot behind the standing leg, with their arms by their sides and eyes fixed straight ahead.

Each participant was given up to three attempts on either foot.

Researchers monitored the health condition of the participants for a period of seven years after the initial checkup, during which one in five participants failed the balance test.

In that period, seven per cent of the participants (123) died - 17.5 per cent of whom were those who had failed the test during the initial checkup.

The study found that those who were unable to complete the balance test had an 84 per cent higher risk of death from any cause in the next 10 years. This is due to them having generally poorer health, with conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure, and unhealthy blood fat profiles, and diabtes, among others.

According to study author Dr Claudio Gil Araújo, the ability to balance on one leg is crucial for older people for a number of reasons, including to move out of a car, or to climb or descend a step or stair.

"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," CNN quoted him saying.

Araújo said that while good balance commonly denoted good health, there is still no definite data that correlates the importance of balance with longevity.

Scary indeed. If you want to know where you stand, health wise, you can perform this 10-second balance test, but make sure you stand close to a wall or table, or another person for support, should you lose balance while doing it.

Source: CNN
Photo source: Yahoo