The ability to sit down on the floor and then rise back to a standing position was a significant predictor of all-cause mortality in older adults, a recent study revealed.

Although cardiorespiratory fitness is strongly related to survival, data on musculoskeletal fitness indicators are limited, explained Leonardo Barbosa Barreto de Brito and colleagues in European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. To evaluate the association between the ability to sit on and rise from the floor and all-cause mortality, the investigators had 2,002 persons aged 51 to 80 years perform a sitting-rising test (SRT).

Participants were told to sit on the floor and then get up in a stable way, unaided. Speed was not a concern, but the men and women were told to use the minimum support necessary to complete the task. Each of the two movements was given a score of zero to five points, with one point subtracted for each hand or knee support used.

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A total of 159 study participants (7.9%) died over a median follow-up of 6.3 years.

Lower SRT scores were associated with higher mortality, and each unit increase in SRT score conferred a 21% improvement in survival. Only two of the deaths occurred in participants with a composite SRT score of 10, but having a composite score below 8 (that is, requiring more than one hand or knee support to sit down and then rise again from the floor in a stable way) was associated with twofold-higher death rates over the study period.


  1. Barbosa Barreto de Brito L et al. “Ability to sit and rise from the floor as a predictor of all-cause mortality.” Eur J Prev Cardiol. 2012; doi: 10.1177/2047487312471759.