hit tracker Will you live longer than your friends? Take 9 quick tests to find out  – Newsmix.pics

Will you live longer than your friends? Take 9 quick tests to find out 

NO ONE is immune from frailty and falls as they age — but nine quick tests could reveal how healthy you’ll be as the years add up.

The simple exercises you can do at home could indicate what shape you’ll be in as you reach later life.

Experts have revealed nine simple tests you can do at home to assess how healthy you’re likely to be in older age

From testing your handgrip to seeing how quickly you walk, experts say these easy health markers could help you find out how fighting fit you’ll be in old age.

Jamie Clark, senior physiologist at Nuffield Health, told The Sun: “To maximise longevity and your health through later life, a simple self-assessment and lifestyle audit can be a good idea to help inform goals to support for your health and wellbeing.”

1. One-legged balance

Standing on one leg might sound like a simple enough task, but for many it can be trickier than first thought.

Research, published in the British Journal of Medicine, showed you may be at a much higher risk of death if you can’t stand 10 seconds on a single limb.

Experts from the University of Bristol, said the test should be used as part of routine health checks in older adults.

Dr Setor Kunutsor said: “The one-legged stance test has been used to assess balance over the last five decades, but it is not routinely employed in the clinical examination of middle-aged and older individuals.  

“A major reason for this is the lack of data on its relationship with adverse outcomes such as falls and mortality.

“The 10-second one-legged stance is a potential practical tool that could be used in routine clinical practice to identify middle-aged and older individuals at high risk of death.”

Dr Claudio Gil Araujo added: “The 10-second balance test provides rapid and objective feedback for the patient and health professionals regarding static balance.

“The test adds useful information regarding mortality risk in middle-aged and older men and women.”

To perform the test, stand on one leg and see if you can last 10 seconds without wobbling or falling.

Repeat on the other leg.

2. Sit and rise

Another vital test to try is the “site and rise” movement.

Mr Clark said: “Getting up off the floor under your own support is a good indication of strength, mobility, and stability and the sit to rise test is a good way to assess this.

“Scoring how many full, controlled repetitions you can do is a good way to monitor progress and might give indications of how well you are ageing.

“This function will decline with ageing but can be prevented through regular repetitions and building strength-based exercises, such as resistance training into your life.”

You only need to complete the movement rising and sitting back down once.

If you’re not able to complete a rep, you can reduce the difficulty by lowering a knee or using one hand on the floor or a chair for support, he said.

He added: “The ‘Turkish get-up’ is another movement variation that integrates leg strength and hip mobility.

“Regular participation in progressive resistance training over a lifetime likely leads to greater benefits.”

3. Handgrip

Measuring your grip strength is an important way of keeping track of how the muscles in your hand and forearms are working.

Jo Fidock, regional physiotherapy lead at Nuffield Health, said: “Improving handgrip strength is beneficial for several reasons including better functional ability in daily tasks and improving sporting performance.”

She said you can test this by using a handgrip dynamometer.

This will tell you your grip strength, which you can then track over time.

Ms Fidock said: “To ensure reliability of the test the user should be in the same position each time. 

“Ideally standing upright with feet shoulder width apart and a straight arm hanging by their side. 

“When ready, the user will squeeze the dynamometer as hard as they can for a few seconds and record the amount of force generated. 

“The test is performed three times and the best attempt used.”

To improve hand grip strength, she suggests: 

  • Hand squeezes using something like a stress ball. Holding and releasing for a few
  • seconds
  • Finger exercises using elastic bands or finger training tools
  • Forearm exercises such as wrist curls using weights or TheraBand
  • Farmers walks using heavy dumbbells or kettlebells

4. Push-ups

Another test of strength you can easily perform at home is seeing how many push-ups you can complete in one go.

Studies show men who can hammer out 40 reps in one session — not necessarily one set — are at a lower risk of heart attack.

Completing 11 or more within a minute has also been shown to reduce the risk of getting heart disease over the next 10 years.

Mr Clark said: “Push-ups are a simple, no cost measure to estimate functional status and strongly linked to future cardiovascular event risk.

“They are particularly good for developing upper body and anterior chain strength.

“Muscular strength has a protective effect on all-cause mortality — death from any cause.

“To improve your push-up capacity, the movement can be easily adjusted by performing in kneeling position, lowering your chest to an elevated surface like a bench, or reducing range of motion by touching your chest to a Pilates block.”

5. Time in front of the TV

Keeping track of how long you spend on the sofa in front of screens is also an important way of measuring how well you are ageing.

Mr Clark said: “Research shows that sedentary behaviour like sitting poses risks to our health and wellbeing, regardless how active you are. 

“This means there are still adverse consequences to sitting down for long periods in the day even if you go to the gym at some point.

“We want to try and avoid the concept of becoming an ‘Active Couch Potato’.

“Sitting often is a huge part of day, particularly our working lives – but we can easily reduce these risks by taking regular movement breaks. 

“Start by asking: ‘Where can I fit it in? When do I have the most agency of my time?’.”

He suggested setting clear targets like taking 6,000 to 8,000 steps a day.

If you’re watching TV at night, try sitting on the ground or doing some sitting stretches for the first 30 minutes, he said.

6. Squats

Your ability to squat — known as the “king of all exercises” — is another important metric of how your body is functioning as you age.

Ms Fidock said: “The squat test is a measure of your ability to perform a squat movement, which is essential for functional movement patterns and improving lower body strength. 

“It can highlight areas in your lower body that are perhaps restricted or need addressing in terms of strength, mobility or stability.”

To perform the test, start in a standing position with feet hip-width apart and place your arms in front of you or on your hips.

Move into a squat position thinking about hinging at your hips and knees as if you were sitting on to a chair. 

Lower yourself as low as possible but avoid rounding the spine. 

Your knees should track in line with you toes and not collapse inwards and you should be able to rise back up without assistance.

Do 12 to 15 reps to maximise their benefits.

Ms Fidock added: “If you find this challenging, start with a more shallow range of motion and gradually increase it.”

7. Walking speed

Research has shown that speedy walkers are more likely to live longer.

Walking quicker than 3.7mph on average could cut your risk of type 2 diabetes by 39 per cent, a study showed last year.

Trying using apps on your phone or other devices to measure your speed when out on a walk.

Mr Clark said: “There is no shortage of evidence to suggest increasing moderate-to-vigorous physical activity is effective at reducing disease risk, especially in sedentary individuals. 

“This is why the UK Government’s guidelines recommend that adults do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity a week.

“‘Rucking’, or walking with weight, is an effective alternative to brisk walking that challenges both the cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems.”

8. Memory and processing speed

Keeping fit as you age isn’t all about your body either — it’s important to keep an eye on your memory and brain power.

However, thankfully training your muscles and heart can also have beneficial effects on your brain as well.

Mr Clark said: “Vigorous exercise has profound effects on stimulating rain-derived-neurotrophic-factor (BDNF) production, which decreases as we age.

“This is essential for both the formation of neurons and the ability of neural networks in the brain to change, which are vital for improving cognitive function and delaying brain ageing.”

test, made by brain training website brainHQ, reveals how old your brain could be based on a memory game.

It begins by asking you to memorise a list of 15 words which are unveiled consecutively for just one second each.

“Read each of the words, and try to remember them without taking notes,” the test explains.

After the test ends, you must recall as many words as possible on a piece of paper.

The words will then be disclosed.

9. Sleep 

Another important factor to test is how often you are sleeping the recommended seven to nine hours a night.

Mr Clark said: “We know that most people can benefit from getting more quality sleep

“A good question to ask is whether you feel well-rested upon waking.

“A good recommendation for the majority of healthy adults is to aim for 7-9 hours per night.

“Try to stick to a consistent bedtime and consider a winddown routine to maximise the quality of your sleep.”

Tips to age well

There are a number of habits you can take up to care for your health and wellbeing as you age.

Age UK shared the following tips:

  • Do things that you enjoy everyday – whether that’s cooking, seeing friends or enjoying a good book
  • Stay hydrated – drink six to eight cups of water a day
  • Eat plenty of fruit and veggies to lower your risk of heart disease and certain cancers, have beans, pulses, fish, eggs and meat to repair your body after injury, starchy carbs for energy dairy to help keep bones strong
  • Manage long-term health conditions to prevent them progressing or having a greater impact on your health
  • Quit smoking and reduce alcohol intake to no more than 14 units a week
  • Make mental health a priority and get treatment for it, as it can also impact physical health
  • Make sure you’re getting quality sleep
  • Keep socialising – and call a friend or loved one if you can’t make it out the house
  • Be physically active to lower the risk of depression and dementiaheart diseasestrokeParkinson’s and some cancers

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