Shorter Fitness Test Accurately Predicts Risk of Mortality

in Science & Tech by

Walking on a treadmill

Researchers have determined that a short, five minute treadmill test can predict the risk of mortality independent of other risk factors such as age, weight, blood pressure, smoking status, diabetes, cholesterol, and family history.

According to the research team, which includes Queen’s University’s Louise de Lannoy and Robert Ross, a treadmill test shorter than the established maximal fitness test is just as accurate in determining a person’s mortality. Maximal fitness tests are performed on a treadmill where the maximum incline is steadily increased until the participant cannot continue. It is not usually used due to being time-intensive and uncomfortable for the patient.

According to a Queen’s release, researcher Louise de Lannoy has shown that a shorter submaximal fitness test can just as accurately predict the risk of premature death for a person, which offers clinicians an easier option to assess the health and risk of their patient.

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“This study shows that the risk association with submaximal fitness is similar to that of maximal fitness, which suggests that the submaximal fitness test, which requires less than one-third the time of a maximal fitness test and does not require the patient to reach maximal exertion, is a pragmatic alternative to maximal fitness tests for assessing mortality risk in clinical settings,” said Ms. de Lannoy in the release. “Finally, submaximal fitness predicted mortality risk above and beyond traditional risk factors, therefore this test provides information that influences and enhances patient management.”

The research team determined results by using data from a study of 6,106 men and women who were followed from 1974 to 2002 and looking at the change in submaximal test performance over time and its relationship to risk of premature death.

Along with members from Queen’s University, the research team included Mei Sui (University of South Carolina), Carl J Lavie (John Ochsner Heart and Vascular Institute), and Steven N Blair (University of South Carolina).

Photo:Their study was published this month in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Photo: Staff Sgt. Anthony Hyatt | Wikimedia Commons