Image source: Fitbit

Are you fit for your age? Try these home longevity tests

Forget fancy gym memberships or complicated equipment. You can gain surprising insight into your overall fitness and potential for a long, healthy life with simple scientifically proven tests right in your living room. While passing won’t guarantee you’ll live to be 100, research suggests that people who excel in these challenges often possess a physical resilience that translates to better health outcomes in the long run.

Ok, we know this is a wearable tech blog. We’re all about the latest gadgets that can monitor everything from our sleep cycles to the number of steps we take in a day. But what if you told me you could get a surprisingly good picture of your overall health and longevity potential without strapping on a single device?

Intrigued, right? That’s the power of these simple, at-home longevity tests.

While wearable tech offers a vast amount of data, it can’t replace the fundamental movements and abilities that underpin true well-being. These tests tap into those core aspects of fitness, giving you valuable insight you can use to take charge of your health, regardless of whether you have a smartwatch or not.

Grip strength

As shown in this study, a powerful grip isn’t just about winning arm-wrestling contests. Studies have revealed a strong correlation between grip strength and overall fitness, even acting as a predictor of all-cause mortality. You can get a precise measure with a hand dynamometer, a tool easily purchased online.

Researchers found that older adults need a grip strength of at least 18.5 kg (women) and 28.5 kg (men) to comfortably manage heavy tasks like lifting or carrying 11 kg objects. To give you an idea of the longevity impact, the study found that for each 5-kilogram decrease in grip strength, there was a 16% increased risk of death from any cause. Researchers also revealed a link between poor grip strength and increased risks of cardiovascular disease, respiratory diseases, and even certain types of cancers.

These findings highlight why developing a strong grip is a worthy pursuit for longevity. Alternatively, see how long you can maintain a dead hang from a sturdy bar – the longer your hold, the stronger your grip is likely to be.

Sitting and rising from the floor

This seemingly simple test, analyzed in a 2012 study, has become a surprising indicator of longevity. The goal is to lower yourself to a seated position on the floor and then rise back to standing without needing your hands, knees, or other supports for help. Each time you use support, points are deducted from your final score.

The study found remarkable differences in health outcomes based on this score. Those who received very high scores (8-10) were remarkably resilient, showing lower mortality risks over the study period. Conversely, low scores were linked to greater health risks. While the scores themselves are useful, the real message is aiming for fluid, effortless movement, showing good levels of balance, muscular strength, and flexibility – essential ingredients for a long and active life.

Five flights of stairs

Cardiovascular health is non-negotiable for longevity, and this simple stair climbing test gives you a quick but powerful snapshot of yours. The goal is to briskly climb five flights of stairs without getting overly winded. A steady pace that leaves you able to converse, though slightly breathless, is ideal.

A Tulane University study highlighted the benefits of this challenge. Those who could easily manage five flights of stairs demonstrated a reduced risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. While it’s not a magical number, using stairs regularly instead of elevators is a simple, powerful way to boost heart health and contribute to a longer, healthier life.


The humble pushup is making a comeback as a health predictor. A Harvard study found that men capable of completing more than 40 pushups had a significantly reduced risk of cardiovascular issues.

But don’t cheat! Aim for full-body pushups. Having said that, modified versions (on your knees) can also be informative until you can build to proper ones. Then focus on gradually increasing the number of repetitions you can do with good form.

10-Second Balance Test

Can you stand on one leg for 10 seconds without wobbling or needing support? Studies, such as one in the Journal of Health, show a link between balance and longevity. Test both legs, and be aware that practice can improve your results, which is an excellent goal in itself!

Heart rate recovery

How quickly your heart rate returns to normal after exertion is a powerful indicator of fitness. Moreover, a study in the National Institutes of Health highlights this as a longevity predictor.

Essential readingTop fitness trackers and health gadgets

Invest in a basic heart rate monitor or use a free smartphone app. After a brisk walk or another form of moderate exercise, time how long it takes your pulse to return to its resting state. The faster your heart rate recovery, the better your cardiovascular health is likely to be.

If you have a compatible Garmin watch, the device will be able to do this for you. A feature that automatically does this after exercise has recently been introduced via a firmware update.

Have we missed out on any tests? Let us know in the comments section below!

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Ivan Jovin

Ivan has been a tech journalist for over 7 years now, covering all kinds of technology issues. He is the guy who gets to dive deep into the latest wearable tech news.

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