People give a lot of different reasons for wanting to establish an exercise practice. These reasons include losing weight, toning up, because your doctor told you to, or because you want to be a better role model for your kid. Or maybe you want to get better at your chosen sport or prepare for an event like a mud run, marathon, or wedding. These are all totally valid reasons to get active.
But almost never does someone say, “I want my body to move better.” And, really, that’s most important reason you should exercise. Here’s why:
A 2012 study published by the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology showed that the ability to sit down on the ground and stand back up is directly correlated with how long you live. Dr. Claudio Gil Araujo conducted the “sitting-rising test” on 2,000 patients between the ages of 51 and 80. All they had to do was sit down on an empty patch of floor and stand back up — without using any additional points of contact, like elbows, hands, or knees, to support the movement. For every extra body part that touched the floor on the way down or up, the patients lost a point off a perfect score of ten.
Patients who scored eight or lower were twice as likely to die within six years, and those with three points or fewer were five times as likely to die in that time. Every point a patient earned in the study was associated with a 21% decrease in mortality. Think about that – if you can sit down and stand up without putting your hand down, it could be a clear indicator that you get to live a long, health life.
So what do you do about this? Consider taking up a movement-based activity like dance, martial arts, or gymnastics. Or hire a qualified personal trainer who can examine your movement and give you feedback on how to improve. You may not think of yourself a natural mover, or you may not be interested in any particular sport or fitness goal, but everyone has the ability to improve. And that improvement could save your life.
Because how well you move has everything to do with how well you’ll live and how long you’ll live.