The title seems unnecessarily morbid.
Indeed, a recent study has shown that the lower body strength is inversely related to diabetes mellitus, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, and several types of cancer. Past studies have primarily focused on older adults and measured only hand-grip strength. This time, males aged 20 to 80, of various BMIs were followed for almost 20 years. The seated leg press was used as the lower body strength test. Findings have shown that muscular strength was independently associated with risk of death and cancer in men.
Ageing comes with a host of anatomy and physiological changes. For one, fat free mass decreases, resulting in a decline in muscle strength and functionality. This contributes to increased fall risks and functional dependence. Granted, predicting the risk of falling requires us to look at numerous factors. There’s no single, all-encompassing indicator. However, muscle strength – particularly, the ability to generate extension force, is a crucial indicator. Ageing also results in slower proprioception (sense of space) and reduced reaction times, contributing to higher injury and fall risks. Putting it altogether, it makes it ever more important for us to protect our lean muscle and strength train.
Without using complicated machines and being hooked up to ten thousand breathing mechanisms, we can also test for lower body strength in a safe and consistent manner. Here’s how:
- Place a chair behind you and have your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart
- Set a timer for 30s
- Think of pushing your butt and sitting back. Sit with control and maintain tension at your legs and glutes. Push off from the balls of your feet.
- Repeat until the timer goes off.
- Indicate how many chair squats you have completed.
This is particularly useful for your senior parents or grandparents. With weaker lower body strength, core stability and balance, a chair would better support them in maintaining proper squat form. It also makes it safer for them to perform this test.
To challenge yourself a bit more, simply do them without the chair and perform a full depth squat. See how you fare against your family and friends!