People’s reaction times are a far better indicator of their chances of living a long life than their blood pressure, exercise levels or weight, researchers have discovered.
Men and women with the most sluggish response times are more than twice as likely to die prematurely.
Edinburgh University and the Medical Research Council in Glasgow tracked 7,414 people nationwide over 20 years in a study which appears to confirm the adage that a healthy mind means a healthy body.
The researchers suggest that peopleâ€™s reaction times are a measure of their intelligence, which in turn is an indicator of their bodyâ€™s â€˜system integrityâ€™ â€“ how well it is wired together.
They said:â€˜Our results suggest that â€˜choiceâ€™ reaction time, a moderately high correlate of intelligence, is an important risk factor for death from all causes, including cardiovascular disease.â€™
The study, published in the respected journal Intelligence this week, is the first to look at reaction times and mortality, comparing the results with known risk factors like smoking and drinking.
The authors say there is growing evidence that people with higher IQs tend to live longer and healthier lives.
While this can partly be put down to differences in lifestyles because more intelligent people are less likely to smoke and be overweight, much of the gap has previously been unexplained. …
Here is some information on the Ruler Drop Test. The link includes a form you can use to calculate your reaction time.
How to conduct the test
The ruler is held by the assistant between the outstretched index finger and thumb of the athlete’s dominant hand, so that the top of the athlete’s thumb is level with the zero centimetre line on the ruler. The assistant instructs the athlete to catch the ruler as soon as possible after it has been released.
The assistant is to record distance between the bottom of the ruler and the top of the athlete’s thumb where the ruler has been caught. …
Normative data for the Ruler Drop Test
The following are national norms for 16 to 19 year olds.
Excellent Above Average Average Below Average Poor <7.5cm 7.5 – 15.9cm 15.9 – 20.4cm 20.4 – 28cm >28cm
Table Reference: Davis B. et al; Physical Education and the Study of Sport; 2000