Gauge Brain Health: Stand On One Foot!

What if I told ybikram-treeou that trying to stand on one leg for 20 seconds (or more) could help you gauge the health of your brain? That’s exactly what a new study published in the journal Stroke suggests.

Researchers asked about 1,400 people (average age 67) to stand with one leg raised and their eyes open for up to 60 seconds. Everyone tried this twice; best times were used for analysis. Then, using MRI, the researchers scanned everyone’s brain.

They found that those who struggled to balance for 20 seconds had cerebral small-vessel disease (SVD), even though they weren’t exhibiting any classic symptoms. SVD is related to stroke, dementia and even Parkinson’s. Among the balance-impaired, 15% had one micro-bleed brain lesion (30% had two) and 16% had one arterial brain blockage (35% had two.) In addition, those with the shortest balance times generally had the lowest mental performance scores.

Another test of your brain’s health: Close your eyes and lift one foot off the ground. The longer you can stand on one leg without falling, the better your brain is functioning. Twenty-eight seconds is good for ages 20 to 30; twenty-three seconds for ages 31 to 40; fifteen seconds is good for those age 41 to 60. I guess my brain is fine: I just managed 25 seconds, and I’m not 30 anymore.

If you can’t break that 20-second threshold with your eyes open, or the recommended times with eyes closed, then you may be at increased risk for brain disease and cognitive decline. Consult with your physician. Read More at Prevention.com

Brian Demay

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