How to improve your lifespan with one simple move

If you’ve been reading my blogs lately, you’ll know that lifespan isn’t quite as important as healthspan. Healthspan, is the amount of our lives that we spend being healthy and fully functional. We want our healthspan to match our lifespan. So, what is this move we can do to improve our healthspan?

t’s called the sit-to-stand test. This test involves being able to sit from standing in a cross legged position, and then rise to standing again without the use of any arms/hands/knees or other props.  A study was published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology in 2012 that showed, “Each unit increase in SRT score conferred a 21% improvement in survival.”

What does this actually mean? It means that the better people were able to perform this test (it was graded on a scale of 1-10) the more likely they were to live longer than people who were not able to perform the test well.

Knowledge is power. I tried this test out yesterday with my 10 and 7 year old kids. My 13 year old claimed he couldn’t do it and wouldn’t even try. The younger kids could pop up and down without much effort. I could get down easily, but struggled to get up. So this morning I tried some mobility moves recommended to improve my ability to perform this test. It also made me realize that even though I may be strong on many fronts, this does not necessarily translate into great functionality.

This move not only requires hip mobility, but balance and coordination, core and quadriceps strength.  I noticed that my body felt freer after doing some of these moves. 

One thing I have discovered about joint pain, headaches and joint restriction after working on patients for years and noticing things in my own body, is that the assumption that we need to be more still or take pain medication most of the time is not the best solution. Often we need to relax the muscles around the joint and the pain resolves. We can also release muscles in certain places on the head and a headache will disappear in minutes. And for decreased movement in joints, often the joint just needs to be opened and mobility can increase in a very short time.

A personal experience I had 8 years ago – I was in Maui taking a yoga class. I had never been able to sit on my knees. After holding one yoga pose for about 5 minutes, I was able to sit on my knees with feet under me and tops of my feet pressed to the ground. And ever since I have been able to sit in this pose. My fascia was stuck and it just needed to be released. An example of joint mobility that just needed a little opening.

When we have simple solutions, it can make a world of a difference. So take this sit-stand test, and work on improving your mobility. To learn more read this book. Increase your healthspan today!!