A recent study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine has determined that your ability to balance yourself could be an indicator of your overall health and future well-being.

This seemingly simple task requires a person to place their hands by their sides and balance on one leg while their other foot is resting on the back of their standing leg. Easy, right?

10 Second Balance Test
Credit: Heidi Kaye

Well, out of the 1,702 who were tested over a period of 12 years, 20 percent could not complete the task. They were also given three chances to attempt this balance challenge. While not too surprising, the older the subject, the harder it was to accomplish. The subjects ranged between the ages of 51 and 75, with those 71 and older being 11 times more likely to fail the test.

Unfortunately, the researchers noted that despite weight, sex, age and conditions like coronary artery disease, hypertension and diabetes, those who were unable to complete the test had an 84 percent higher risk of death within an average of seven years. In essence, this examination determined the person's chances of falling and becoming injured.

While you may be thinking, "when am I going to only be standing on one leg," think about your movements throughout the day. Every time you exit a car, walk up or down a flight of stairs or even get out of bed in the middle of the night to pee, you put all your weight on one foot.

Although passing this test is not a guarantee of good future health, based on this information, the scientists who conducted the study are recommending that physicians consider adding this test to their patient's yearly checkups. It could be a simple prognostic tool to help them better evaluate overall health and proactively treat potential issues.

If you find that you cannot pass the 10-second balance challenge, make a point to reach out to your doctor to determine safe and effective exercises that you can do to help improve this skill.

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