No not the Turkish Get up......
This is an interesting one that I came across today, mentioned on a podcast. When I got home from my walk I did a bit of searching to find out more about the study.
The idea is that some researchers have found that those who can sit down and get up using no hands are likely to live for longer. The more that you have to use other parts of your body - elbows, knees etc to help you up then the more mortality is affected....
The study is
Methods: 2002 adults aged 51–80 years (68% men) performed a sitting-rising test (SRT) to and from the floor, which was scored from 0 to 5, with one point being subtracted from 5 for each support used (hand/knee). Final SRT score, varying from 0 to 10, was obtained by adding sitting and rising scores and stratified in four categories for analysis: 0–3; 3.5–5.5, 6–7.5, and 8–10.
Results: Median follow up was 6.3 years and there were 159 deaths (7.9%). Lower SRT scores were associated with higher mortality (p < 0.001). A continuous trend for longer survival was reflected by multivariate-adjusted (age, sex, body mass index) hazard ratios of 5.44 (95% CI 3.1–9.5), 3.44 (95% CI 2.0–5.9), and 1.84 (95% CI 1.1–3.0) (p < 0.001) from lower to higher SRT scores. Each unit increase in SRT score conferred a 21% improvement in survival.
and the pdf of the whole paper is available.
As functional as it gets
Thinking about it, in terms of longevity and mortality this movement is about as functional as it gets. A fall is often the beginning of the end for old people. If they break a bone it is bad but even if they do not, if they are struggling to get back on their feet then they can be in serious danger.
Here is a basic simple test of an essential skill. Get onto the floor and get up again. Can you do it? Try it now. It is an exercise in itself.
Try it using the minimum of bodyparts, without help from hands or elbows. Yes it is a skill....but some skills are good to develop!
The way in which the test was applied in the study was as follows:
"Without worrying about the speed of movement, try to sit and then to rise from the floor, using the minimum support that you believe is needed."
Have a go at it now yourself.
Look beyond cardio
Offering an explanation for the close correlation between the test scores and survival, Dr Araújo said: "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 favourable influence on life expectancy.
Fitness is so much more than cardio / VO2 max. Can you move well? Can you stand and sit, lift, reach, carry, walk? These require strength and coordination. These skills need to be maintained as we age or else we are doomed to having people pick us up and wipe our behinds.
A test or an exercise?
This was a test, but how about applying it as an exercise? Or rather as a skill to develop and maintain as we age. Treat this as part of your workout or at least part of your warm up. Sit down on the floor and stand up a few times.
If you can't do this well then maybe you need to focus on some basics before you worry about the complexities of your exercise routine.
Of course the TGU is perhaps a good move to practice as a skill, to help in this, although always skills are specific - in life you will not do this much....but you will always have to get up and get down.
Here Cotter would not score well because he uses his knee ;-)