Did you know that falling is the second leading cause of accidental death second only to car accidents?

That risk increases greatly as we age.
Unless you test yourself and focus on activities to maintain a strong balance, you will put yourself at a much higher risk of shortening your life. This short video shows me testing myself and failing miserably in the second test. The good news is, with practice I can increase my balance and potentially the length of my life.

Just 7 months before my 70th birthday, I fell into our empty under-construction swimming pool! I shattered my right tibia and shredded my ligaments and tendons. Needless to say, after surgery to stabilize the bone and insert an 8-inch titanium plate, I began my long road back to recovery.

Since I’ve been active and a snow skier for most of my adult life, I hadn’t thought a lot about my balance or what impact that would have on the quality of my life. Now it is at the center of my attention.

Watch my short video to see how I’m doing so far and how you can do this very simple standing test for yourself. I share the sobering results of two studies linking longevity (or lack thereof) to the results of this simple test.


I ran across a fascinating article by Dr. Michael Mosley that references a study done in 2014 on 2,760 men and women who were 53 years old. The results of their “one legged standing test” correlated with their longevity caught my attention! He shared that 13 years after the initial evaluation, the individuals who could only stand on one leg with their eyes closed for two seconds were three times more likely to have died than those who held the stand for 10 seconds or more.

You may be shocked to see how quickly you start to fall when you close your eyes below are the targets that different age groups should be able to manage:

Under AGE 40: 45 seconds with eyes open, 15 seconds with eyes closed.
Age 40 to 49: 42 seconds open, 13 seconds closed
Age 50 to 59: 41 seconds open, 8 seconds closed
Age 60 to 69: 32 seconds open, 4 seconds closed
Age 70 to 79: 22 seconds open 3 seconds closed

Another clinical trial tested 1,702 participants ages 51 to 75.  As part of the check-up, they were asked to stand on one leg for 10 seconds without any additional support. Other trials gave different instructions on how to position the free leg with the foot behind the other leg in a kind of Flamingo pose which makes staying balanced harder than some of the other methods.

The results showed that one person in five failed the test and were unable to stand for 10 seconds. As people aged their percentage of failure went up. For example: those in the 61 to 65 age group had just under 37% success.  THe 66 to 70 age group had a failure rate of 54%.

In general, those who failed the test had poor health and there was a higher proportion that were obese or suffered from heart disease, high blood pressure or unhealthy blood fat profiles. After accounting for age, gender, and underlying health conditions, the inability to stand on one leg for 10 seconds was associated with an 84% increased risk of death from any cause over the next decade.

DON’T DISMAY! There is hope. What’s the solution?
Work on your balance every single day until you get your standing on one leg with and without your eyes open into a healthier range!


Be sure to stand near a wall or chair when you try these exercises the first few times. See full disclaimer below.

Study References:
Study One
Study Two