If you’re a fan of movies you may remember a film called In Time with Justin Timberlake. The premise was that everyone had a digital clock displayed on their forearms telling how much time they had left in their life. As a result, time rather than money, because a highly valuable commodity.Now I’m not suggesting we should all know how long we’re going to live. But we all probably all want to live full and complete lives. And part of that involves being in the best physical condition possible.
Typically we can go to the doctor and have a number of tests performed which give an indication of whether we are doing better or worse than the average person in terms of life expectancy.
But there are also some tests you can do yourself either at home or wherever you do your fitness training. Each will give feedback as to where you stand in terms of your longevity.
Below are three quick tests you can try. If you are not already physically active you should pass on trying the third test. Special thanks to Dan John and Dr. Susan Kleiner for sharing these tests with me.
Test #1 – Sitting Rising Test (SRT)
This test came about when a Brazilian physician noticed many of his patients health deteriorated when they had difficulty bending down to pick something off the floor.
To do the test start in a standing position and lower yourself to sitting on the ground using as few points of support as possible try. Then return to a full standing position.
Start with a score of 10 and subtract 1 for every point of support needed to get up or down. Use the image below as a guide and count one for every one of the positions you used to lower yourself or get back up.
So what does this all mean?
According to Dr. Araújo, people who scored fewer than eight points on the test were twice as likely to die within the next six years compared with those who wound up scoring higher; those who scored three or fewer points were more than five times as likely to die within the same period.
Test #2 – Single Leg Balance
How long can you stand on one leg? I remember hearing that WWII era servicemen and women were capable of two minutes on each leg. Nowadays many struggle to achieve 10 seconds.
To do the test place your hands on your hips and raise one foot off the ground. The foot that is off the ground may not touch anything else i.e. your other foot or leg.
Your score is that duration of your lessor limb, not the average. So if you could balance 10 seconds on your right leg but only six on your left your score is a six.
If you scored a ten on both legs try the test again with your eyes closed.
Still getting tens on both limbs? Next try and put your socks and shoes on while standing on one leg. Set your socks and shoes close enough to reach them and see if you can perform this daily task without sitting down and while maintaining balance on one leg.
Test #3 – Broad Jump Your Height
This last test doesn’t so much look at longevity but instead may be used as a clearance test for fitness. If you aren’t currently active don’t try this one.
To do this test you need a measuring tape and to know your height. Stretch the measuring tape out in front and perform a standing broad jump.
The goal is to jump your height. For example, if you stand 5’6″ your goal is to jump 66 inches or more.
Most active people can do this. Most athletes should be capable of 8 feet or more. Top level athletes will clear over 9 feet. And elite performers will jump over 10 feet.
Check out this video below from the NFL combine where Byron Jones jumped an incredible 12 feet 3 inches! And he stuck the landing!
These tests all give an idea of where we stand in terms of our mobility, stability, balance and motor coordination. And the last one gives us a sense of our ability to produce power and become elastic. Continuing to work on these abilities will ensure the best possible health throughout our lives.