HEALTH New Study Finds Adults Who Are Unable to Stand on One Leg for 10 Seconds Could Be in Serious Trouble


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New Study Finds Adults Who Are Unable to Stand on One Leg for 10 Seconds Could Be in Serious Trouble

By Andrew Jose
June 22, 2022 at 1:00pm
Middle-aged adults unable to stand on one foot for at least ten seconds face a greater risk of dying within the next ten years, a study found.

The study was published Tuesday in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Taking into account variables such as age and illnesses, the researchers found that those who could not complete the balancing test suffered an “84% higher risk of all-cause mortality.”

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The study’s authors concluded this after carrying out health and physical checkups of around 1,700 people aged 51-75 between 2008 and 2020.

As part of the experiment, the physicians would request volunteer participants to stand on one leg, with their free foot resting behind their standing foot, for at least 10 seconds.

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Each volunteer had three attempts to balance themselves correctly. During the process, they had to keep their arms to their side.

Around 20.4 percent of the individuals surveyed could not balance themselves on a single foot for ten seconds or more.

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When the researchers carried out a median follow-up of seven years of the survey participants, they found that those unable to do the balancing test had a greater death rate than those who could.

Around 17.5 percent of participants who were incapable of standing on their feet for at least ten seconds died within ten years of the test, while only 4.6 percent of participants who could complete the test lost their lives in the decade that followed their examination.

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“Within the limitations of uncontrolled variables such as recent history of falls and physical activity, the ability to successfully complete the 10-s OLS is independently associated with all-cause mortality and adds relevant prognostic information beyond age, sex, and several other anthropometric and clinical variables,” the researchers wrote.

The scholars recommended that the 10-second test be part of physical check-ups for elderly and middle-aged adults.

“[T]he availability of simple, inexpensive, reliable and safe balance assessment tools that could help predict survival would potentially be beneficial to health professionals evaluating and treating older adults,” the researchers wrote.

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“The test has been remarkably safe, well-received by the participants, and importantly, simple to incorporate in our routine practice as it requires less than 1 or 2  minutes to be applied,” the researchers noted.

“It also gives rapid and objective feedback to both patients and health professionals,” the researchers said, according to Bloomberg News.

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Dr. Claudio Gil Araújo, one of the researchers behind the study, described the findings as “awesome,” WebMD reported.

Araújo is the research director of the Exercise Medicine Clinic-CLINIMEX in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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“As a physician who has worked with cardiac patients for over 4 decades, I was very impressed in finding out that, for those between 51 and 75 years of age, it is riskier for survival to not complete the 10-second one-leg standing test, ” Araújo said, according to WebMD.

The physician noted that being unable to balance oneself for at least 10 seconds in the test is riskier “than to have been diagnosed as having coronary artery disease or in being hypertensive,” or having abnormal cholesterol, WebMD reported.


Veteran Member
So this is what modern medicine comes down to. Correlation. Not causation. I defy any doctor to explain why being able to stand on one foot for 10 seconds, or not, explains life expectancy. What a load of crap designed only to generate clicks and more research dollars.


Veteran Member
So this is what modern medicine comes down to. Correlation. Not causation. I defy any doctor to explain why being able to stand on one foot for 10 seconds, or not, explains life expectancy. What a load of crap designed only to generate clicks and more research dollars.
I agree with much of what you say but as I was thinking about it I thought maybe it is a tell tale of how physically active you generally are.

Studies show that people who sit for extended periods of time have a shorter life expectantly.

So I wonder if non active people could always do it. I think that the more active you are the better your balance. Think Martial Artists.

Short story, I took the whole family, in laws too, to Ormond Beach in Florida one year for a vacation in March before the spring breakers showed up wearing their shoe strings and band aids as bikinis. I had kids. All of us guys went deep sea fishing. Well the seas were 6 foot seas. One boat beside us I heard on the radio had every body puking. Our whole boat was puking except for about 5 of us.
Needles to say when the cut bait came out there was even more hurling. The fishing was terrible. The Captain told me Feb was best.

One kid caught one fish out of 50 people. It Was a party boat. So on the way back in I got tired of hearing people hurl so I went up on the top deck and chatted with the non hurlers up there. We all exchanged names, where we were from etc. one guy was some kind of MD. Neurological of some type. He was asking each one of what we do for a living then explained to each of us why we weren’t see sick. Two guys were linemen buddies, a woman was a fitness instructor and I was a Welder. He continued to explain why each of us didn’t get sea sick.
Mine was because I spent much of my day every day in the dark wearing a welding hood. Many times having to balance a lot to continue and not fall off something while welding especially if there was no hand hold.
The two lineman were self explanatory and the fitness instructor was too.

So it may have to do with a lifestyle where balance is needed. It may have to do with falling a breaking something because of lack of balance when you get older. Thus the importance of staying fit and active.

That’s my take on it anyway. I’m sure there are exceptions to large inactive people that can do the 10 seconds. Not sure


Veteran Member
Really? So people whose knees are shot (awaiting replacement) are likely to die within 10 years? (No way I can balance 10 seconds on either foot right now due to pain.)

Interesting story about the neurologist, Ktrapper.


Veteran Member
This is old news
It’s been part of some testing for at least more than 10 years.
When I first went work here on the slope BP required a fit for duty physical. It was done by a physical therapist. I remember one of the tests was stand on one leg and balance while arms are at your side, while he timed it. He done both sides.

That’s one reason the article caught my attention more.


North to the Future
Working on one-legged deep squats right now… and it’s not easy. But nothing I’ve done to get fit after way too many sedentary years has been easy. I am always encouraging family to get up and try things. Some are encouraged to keep on it. Some just quit …but truly, there’s always something you can do - as many here will attest. And always something hard toward which we can work.

colonel holman

Veteran Member
As we age, we suffer more falls, fracturing wrists and shoulders and hips (hip fracture over age 65 has almost 50% mortality rate in the year following that fracture.

As humans we walk upright on two feet in a fully automatic mode. This is because we have exquisitely senstive nerve endings embedded in joint tissues in toes, feet, ankles, knees, hips, lower back. They sense position, weighbearing, motion, loading. This info is processed by brain to coordinate walking upright. BUT aging wears down joint cartilage (osteoarthrosis; degenerative joint changes) which also takes out some of those nerve endings in those joints… resulting in loss of balance controls… falls… fractures.

One of the best quickie tests is how long can you stand on one leg. Normal is 30 sec with eyes open or 9 sec with eyes closed. We in PT assess this on nearly every patient over age 65, regardless their reason to be in PT care. A few very simple and quick balance exercises will tune up sensitivity of the remaining nerve endings in joints… and reduce number of falls per year, saving disastrous injuries.

Something as simple as trying to stand on one foot as long as you can, standing in corner of kitchen countertop to give a surface to grab if start to tip over. One minute of exercise several times a day can greatly improve

night driver

ESFP adrift in INTJ sea
THANK YOU, COL Holman!!!

This is something I have a HUGE need to work on. If I have something brush the side of a foot, I can feel myself starting to fall in that direction. It's slow enough I have a chance to look and find a place to either land (softly) or put my hand down and save the fall.
Working the corner of the counters looks like it will help a LOT. Of course, I'm short a meniscus and have the usual complement of steel to fix a tri-malleolar fx on one side and the recent broken foot on the other.

BUT I NEED to work on my balance. The falls are getting too expensive now. (At 71)


Pride comes before the fall.....Pride month ended.
Heck, I gotta be careful not to kill myself putting on my underwear........I know you know....good to have that third point of contact. The key is to think, do I want anyone to know I died putting on my underwear? Always have that third point of contact, and go in focused..........Good luck in the future, one and all.


T nation had a Harvard study posted that middle aged males should be able to do 40 push-ups and that it was a better baseline than treadmills.
"During the next 10 years, 37 cardiovascular-related outcomes were reported, and researchers determined that men able to do 40 or more pushups during the baseline exam were 96 percent less likely to experience a cardiovascular event than those who could do only 10 or fewer."


Veteran Member
So this is what modern medicine comes down to. Correlation. Not causation. I defy any doctor to explain why being able to stand on one foot for 10 seconds, or not, explains life expectancy. What a load of crap designed only to generate clicks and more research dollars.
But you really, really must trust the science!


Bullshit. There are lots of people who, for one reason or another, can’t stand on one leg.
It's statistics. Not the first time I've seen it. Sometimes, it's those "one reason or another" things that shorten the lifespan. But it's a proven predictor of a person's chances of falling. And fall fatalities skyrocket once we're "elderly".



Veteran Member
That last test, forget it. The only way I'm down on the ground is if I've either fallen down, or else I've started hiking something that got too steep, and had to turn around and ignominiously scoot my way back down.

(Yes, that last happened on my last hiking trip to the Sierra. The trail was not well signed, so I got off on something that looked like it was the trail (it started out as an old disused road), but it went uphill and eventually got way too steep for me (with slippery dirt) and I had to backtrack. Thankfully no one was around to see my scoot of shame... (Because of the slippery dirt, I wasn't taking any chances of a slip and fall.) Back at the bottom I did have to use hands/knee and my trekking poles to get upright again, after first shedding the (unbalancing) pack. By that time I was pretty much fed up (and still couldn't find the real trail) so I just went back to the motel. When I researched more online, I discovered that other hikers had gotten fooled too, and if I *had* made it to the crest (I was maybe 20 feet short of it), it was literally straight down for hundreds of feet. )

Re balancing on one foot... Well right now I can barely make 10 seconds, eyes open (on the shot knees), so that's not good. Thanks, Col. Holman, for the exercise suggestion.


Knuckle Dragger
I can see it being a quick and fair assessment.

The body being a complex mix of many systems, you need several of them working in unison to complete the exercise.

If there is a breakdown of any of them, it's a sign that something ain't right.


Saved, to glorify God.
DO I GET only 10 more years if I CAN'T BALANCE?
I can't balance, and I'll take only 10 more years.
That would make me checking out at 87!
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