According to new research, there is a connection between activities like trying to rise from a sitting position on the floor unaided and an older person's mortality risk, Science Daily.com reports.

The study, conducted in Brazil by Dr Claudio Gil Araújo and colleagues at the Clinimex--Exercise Medicine Clinic in Rio de Janeiro, took 6.3 years to complete. More than 2000 middle-aged and older men and women aged 51 to 80 years took a simple motor skill test: to sit and rise up from the floor unaided.

The test was administered in 2002, and the researchers followed up until date of death or October 2011, whichever came first. The participants were scored depending on how much support was used (e.g. hand or knee), for a total of five points: a perfect score meant they sat down or stood up with little to no support at all.

Over the course of the study, 159 subjects died. Interestingly, the majority of deaths occurred to people with low test scores. The researchers found a correlation between the scores and mortality risk, as those with low scores have a higher risk of mortality than those with higher scores.

Offering an explanation for the close correlation between the test scores and survival, Dr Araújo says, "It is well known that aerobic fitness is strongly related to survival, but our study also shows that maintaining high levels of body flexibility, muscle strength, power-to-body weight ratio and co-ordination are not only good for performing daily activities, but have a favorable influence on life expectancy."

So you may want to start getting fit while you’re still young. Being able to move freely will not only make you feel more empowered as you grow older but it may also add years to your life.

(Photo by Jos van der Hoek via Flickr Creative Commons)

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