Balance Tests Let Seniors Know if They Are at Risk for Falls
There is no single cause for falls but rather multiple risk factors that combine to increase the chances of a fall. Take these simple tests to see how your muscle strength, one of the risk factors, compares with the average person in your age group.
You may want to have someone nearby to watch/time you as you try these tests.
Single Leg Standing Balance Test
- Stand on a hard floor near a table or counter top for support.
- Bend one knee and lift the foot – if you’re left-handed, stand on your left leg and lift the right foot; do the opposite if you’re right-handed. You don’t need to lift it high, just enough to keep it off the floor.
- Now without holding onto anything slowly count the number of seconds you can hold that position without putting your foot back down.
- Repeat the test 3 times, and then add up your total time and divide it by 3 to find your average balance time. (For example, if test 1 was 4 seconds, test 2 was 8 seconds, and test 3 was 6 seconds, you’d add up 4, 8, and 6 to get 18. Divide by 3, and your average balance time is 6 seconds.)
You can try retaking this same test with your eyes closed for a greater challenge. Compare your results below.
Timed Sit-To-Stand Test
- Sit in a standard chair with your back against the back of the chair (make sure the chair isn’t touching a wall
- Cross your arms over your chest
- Stand up and sit back down 5 times as fast as you can.
What it means: If you took longer than the average you may be at higher risk of falling. See below for how you compare with others in your age group
Attend our next Balance, Dizziness and Falls Prevention Workshop if you have more questions, or talk to us about an assessment from one of our licensed physical therapists.
How Do You Measure Up?
How long should you be able to stand on one leg? Eyes Open Eyes Closed Age Balance Time (seconds) Age Balance Time (seconds) 40 – 59 25 – 27 secs. 40 – 59 15 – 20 secs 60 – 69 20 – 25 60 – 69 9 – 12 70 – 79 10 – 15 70 – 79 7 – 8 80 5 – 6 80 4-5 How long should it take you to stand? Age Stand Time (seconds 60-69 11 70-79 13 80-89 15