A five-minute test using just a treadmill and a heart rate monitor could predict death risk with more accuracy than traditional medical tests that measure cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, and other common indicators of health, say researchers at Queen's University in Ontario, Canada.
This simple test involves measuring how well the body takes in and uses oxygen during moderate exercise using submaximal fitness test scores. For the test, participants walk for five minutes on a treadmill at a speed of 3.3 miles per hour. The treadmill is flat for the first minute and then the incline is increased by 1 percent at one-minute intervals. After five minutes, the participant’s heart rate is measured to obtain their final score.
The Canadian study involved 6,106 men and women who performed fitness test multiple times between 1974 and 2002. Over more than 25 years, the researchers found that participants whose heart rate decreased by more than four beats per minute were 40 percent less likely to die than those whose scores did not improve.