This article originally appeared in Tips on Life & Love from Simon & Schuster.
Basic fitness is an important ingredient for lasting health. Here are two ways to test your fitness level and overall chances for living a longer, happier life. From The Lucky Years.
In general, if you can walk a couple of miles at a decent pace, covering a mile per fifteen minutes, or climb several flights of stairs without difficulty, then you are in average shape at any age, whether you’re a man or woman. But there’s usually room for improvement. In terms of muscle mass, you’ve probably got some decent muscle strength if you can complete your normal daily activities without much strain. But again, there’s always room for improvement.
I’ll also give you a quick fitness test to do right now: Using the least amount of support that you need and without worrying about how fast you’re moving, can you sit on the floor and then rise up to a standing position? Turns out that if you can get yourself up from the floor using just one hand—or even better, without the help of any hand—then you are not only in the top 25 percent of musculoskeletal fitness, but your survival prognosis is probably better than that of those unable to do so. In 2012, a study performed in Brazil at an exercise medicine clinic revealed that an inability to sit and rise from the floor shows an all-cause mortality risk (another way of saying that you’re more likely to die from any cause). Put simply, the better you can do this task without relying on your hands for stability and support, the longer you’ll live.