Movement and strength are signs of a healthy functioning Nervous System. Your brain is designed to move your body in order to secure resources to maintain health and survival. When we examine people neurologically at Platinum Chiropractic, we are looking at things like their posture, balance, gait, and muscle strength because it gives us an idea about the functionality of their brain.
Just think about what happens with things like MS, Parkinson’s Disease, and strokes. They affect our ability to move, but they are not strictly a muscular problem. They are brain problems!
In 2014 the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology published a study that suggests that a simple movement test can predict risk of death in middle aged and elderly individuals. 2076 people were studied between the ages of 51-80 and were tracked from 1997 – 2011. Subjects performed a test called the Sitting/Rising Test (SRT). The test is really simple. The subject sits on their bottom and stands up. They are asked to perform the test without using their hands, knees, or sturdy objects.
"The SRT test, which can be used on middle-aged and elderly adults, is incredibly simple. Sit down on the floor, and then get up, using as little assistance from your hands, knees or other body parts as possible. For each body part that you use for support, you'll lose one point from the possible top score of 10.
"Application of a simple and safe assessment tool such as SRT, which is influenced by muscular strength and flexibility, in general health examinations could add relevant information regarding functional capabilities and outcomes in non-hospitalized adults," the researchers noted.
For instance, if you put one hand on the floor for support to sit down, then use a knee and a hand to help you get up, you'll "lose" three points for a combined score of 7. What do the numbers mean? They correlated strongly with participants' risk of death during the study period of just over six years. For each unit increase in SRT score, participants gained a 21 percent improvement in survival. Specifically:
- Those who scored 0-3 were 6.5 times more likely to die during the study than those who scored 8-10
- Those who scored 3.5 to 5.5 were 3.8 times more likely to die
- Those who scored 6 to 7.5 were 1.8 times more likely to die
While I wouldn't take the results of this study as "gospel" and become distressed if you are 30 years old and score a three, it does provide an interesting perspective on the connection between mobility and health and can provide encouragement for many to get back in shape."*
What does this mean?
This test is a functional indicator of your strength and basic neurologic fitness. Being able to do this means your brain has good control and your muscles and joints have good fitness and mobility to move your body through space. It’s an indicator that you are fit and have good enough balance to not hurt your self.
Rather than focusing on practicing this movement, you should be focusing on getting stronger and having better body balance. It means that maybe you should add some weight training to your weekly routine 2-3 times per week. It means maybe you should take a conscious movement practice like Yoga or Tai Chi to improve your balance and mobility.
Remember, you’re not doing these things to prevent death. You are doing these things to raise your health and help you to navigate life with a more functional body and higher quality of living.