A new study suggests that the inability to stand on one leg for 10 seconds may raise the risk of dying over the following ten years.

Our flexibility and balance decline as we become older. Beginning in our 50s, balance becomes increasingly challenging and can quickly deteriorate.

Balance issues raise the danger of falling, which is concerning because, according to the World Health Organization Trusted Source, falls are the second biggest cause of unintentional injury deaths worldwide. Each year, more than 37 million falls cause injuries severe enough to necessitate medical attention.

Even for older persons, balance tests are not frequently included in yearly physicals. According to the authors of the current study, this may be due to a lack of standardized assessments and inconsistent interpretation of the findings.

However, they claim that the inability to balance for 10 seconds on one leg can signify a higher probability of dying for any reason in the ensuing 10 years.

Details of the research:

The average age of the 1,702 participants in the new study ranged from 51 to 75. Men made up almost two-thirds of the participants.

The test subjects were instructed to balance themselves on one leg. The back of the lower leg on the other side was supported by the front of the free leg. They were facing forward with their arms at their sides.

Participants were permitted to use either leg for up to three tries.

The task was unsuccessful by about 20% of participants, and this percentage rose with age:

  • 5 % of individuals aged 51 and 55 failed the test.
  • 8 % of those who were between 56 and 60 failed.
  • Between 61 and 65, 18% of people failed.
  • About 37 percent of those 66 to 70 failed
  • Between 71 and 75, 54% of individuals failed.

After accounting for age, sex, and underlying health conditions, the inability to stand one-legged for 10 seconds was associated with an 84 percent heightened risk of all-cause death over a median follow-up period of 7 years.

It’s crucial to keep in mind that the study only revealed a correlation, not a cause-and-effect connection, Lubetzky emphasized.

“A person in their fifties should be able to stand unaided for about 40 seconds. A person in their 60s is looking at 20 seconds, while a person in their 70s is looking at about 10 seconds, continued Lubetzky. “Static balance is a complex problem with many underlying causes, including neurological disorders, orthopedic conditions, eyesight, and spatial problems, sedentary lifestyles, reaction times, cognitive impairments, and other medical conditions. You should consider your general health and fitness if it is tough for you to balance on one leg.

A larger percentage of persons with obesity, cardiac disease, high blood pressure, or unfavorable blood fat profiles were found in those who failed. In this group, type 2 diabetes was three times as prevalent.


Bailey, E. (2022) Standing on one leg for 10 seconds and your health, Healthline. Healthline Media. Available at: https://www.healthline.com/health-news/can-you-stand-on-one-leg-for-10-seconds-what-that-tells-you-about-your-overall-health#Details-of-the-study (Accessed: November 2, 2022).

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