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8316 Arlington Blvd., Suite 330, Fairfax, VA 22031 | Office: 571-999-WEST (9378) | Fax: 571-349-8885

The Impact of Your Fitness Level on Overall Longevity

By Sarah Contrada, DPT

In 2019, a simple fitness test caught headlines in the Washington Post with the provocative title, ‘Can this test tell you how long you’ll live?’ The test itself is simple, assessing your ability to move from standing, to sitting on the floor, back to standing again. Better scores, the research authors concluded, were correlated with greater longevity.

The same year, the Atlantic published an article titled ‘The Power of One Push-Up,’ which cited a study that suggested one’s ability to do push-ups was directly linked with risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attack. It turns out your ability to do push-ups was more effective at predicting ‘cardiovascular events’ (i.e. heart attacks) than a submaximal stress test, long thought to be the gold standard of tests.

Each of these studies examined an individual’s ability to move, then utilized that information to predict their future health.

At MovementX, we believe that movement is the most important commodity in the world.

Movement is how we run, jump, and play. It’s how we bend over to lift our kids out of the crib, how we exercise and run, and how we get up and down from the floor to play with our grandchildren. And at MovementX, it’s our mission to help people move their best, so they can live their best – a mission I do my best to bring to life every day in the clinic.

Not only is movement how we live, but recent research has also shown that movement is predictive. How we are moving now can offer valuable insights into our future. Simple tests can be predictive of longevity, risk of cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline, and so much more. It’s a strong indicator as to one’s likelihood of maintaining their independence and full function over time.

That is why we have decided to work with the Eileen West, MD and Associates team to offer functional fitness tests in the comfort of her office. Here’s the best part – the test comes complimentary as part of your membership with Eileen West, MD and Associates.

The functional fitness examination is a series of eight movement health tests. Each test has been well validated by research to be predictive of important health outcomes. It covers a range of foundational movement health areas, including balance, strength, power, flexibility, speed, and more. After the test is complete, I will compare your results to your age and gender matched norms – offering valuable insights into areas where you are performing well as compared to the general population and how you can improve.

My hope is to measure your functional fitness each year and prevent age related decline. Let’s take balance as an example – balance ability typically starts to decline around 40 years of age. After we turn 50, individuals typically lose about 25% of their balance ability each decade. We also know balance is directly correlated with fall risk, and falls are the cause of up to 90% of hip fractures. So, if we can track our balance from year-to-year and prevent future falls, we are going to improve our quality of life adjusted years over time. 

Ready to set up your complimentary functional fitness test? Simply give Dr. West’s office a call at 571-999-WEST (9378).

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As a licensed physical therapist, Sarah Contrada, DPT is passionate about helping each individual reach their unique goals. Her diverse background as a yoga instructor and barre teacher also give her a comprehensive perspective on healthy movement. Equipped with the knowledge to help you get out of pain or dysfunction, Sarah can also help you maintain and improve your overall movement capacity and function, setting you up for long term success. She is a provider for MovementX, a movement health community bringing together the best physical therapy providers to deliver the best quality treatment.

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