Fitness Afloat: The Trawler-Friendly Fitness Test

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We all want to know we’re fit, but finding a universally applicable test is a real challenge. Enter Dr. Claudio Gil Araújo and his Sitting-Rising Test (SRT). Published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, the SRT can assess your musculoskeletal fitness and may potentially even predict your lifespan.

Fair warning: Do NOT try the SRT test if you have problems with your hips, knees, ankles, or balance. Only attempt the SRT with someone nearby as a spotter, and only where it is safe to fall without running the risk of going for an unplanned swim.

Here’s how it works: Stand up straight and cross your feet. Lower yourself to a cross-legged sitting position (5 points) and rise back up again (5 points) for a perfect score of 10 points. Subtract one point each time you touch anything for support with a hand, arm, or knee, and 1/2 point for each time you lose your balance or wobble. Follow the images below as a brief step-by-step summary.

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Not so easy for the over-50 crowd. So, how did you do?

The widely reported study concluded that, “Musculoskeletal fitness, as assessed by the Sitting-Rising Test, was a significant predictor of mortality in 51- to 80-year-old subjects.” Patients who scored a three or less were five times more likely to die within the next six years as patients who scored higher. Why? Dr. Araújo has said the SRT shows that body flexibility, muscle strength, power-to-body weight ratio and coordination are not only good for performing daily activities but have a favorable influence on life expectancy. Put in a more positive light, the SRT data showed that every point gained is associated with a 21 percent decrease in mortality. That has to be worth some effort.

This underlines why cardiovascular fitness is still important. So, get out and run, swim, walk, paddle, and ride the bike; anything to get that heart rate up. Can the SRT actually predict when you will die? No, of course not. But we I think that core strength, coordination, and flexibility are vital to enjoying life on the water, and we like the SRT as a snapshot of our fitness. n

Want further reading? Take a look at articles by the USA Today, Wikipedia, or follow this link to learn more about the studies: