A simple treadmill test can predict how long you will live, a new study finds.
The research, published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings, produced a formula called the FIT Treadmill Score (Ahmed et al., 2015).
This analyses people’s performance on an exercise ‘stress test’.
Dr Haitham Ahmed, who led the study, said:
“The notion that being in good physical shape portends lower death risk is by no means new, but we wanted to quantify that risk precisely by age, gender and fitness level, and do so with an elegantly simple equation that requires no additional fancy testing beyond the standard stress test.”
The formula takes into account heart rate, how much energy the body burns and other demographic factors like age and gender.
One of the study’s authors, Dr Michael Blaha, said:
“The FIT Treadmill Score is easy to calculate and costs nothing beyond the cost of the treadmill test itself.
We hope the score will become a mainstay in cardiologists and primary clinicians’ offices as a meaningful way to illustrate risk among those who undergo cardiac stress testing and propel people with poor results to become more physically active.”
For the study, the researchers analysed data from 58,02 people.
They then looked back to see if and when they had died.
Heart and lung fitness was the factor which predicted survival above and beyond anything else — even a family history of early death.
Exercise stress tests work by testing the performance of the heart and lungs as the exercise becomes more vigorous.
People with apparently normal EKG readings during the test can still be graded as to their likely future death risk.
Dr Ahmed said:
“Stress test results are currently interpreted as ‘either/or’ but we know that heart disease is a spectrum disorder.
We believe that our FIT score reflects the complex nature of cardiovascular health and can offer important insights to both clinicians and patients.”
Treadmill image from Shutterstock