Find Your Place: Assess Your Mobility

By the Editors of SilverSneakers |

The two-minute step test can reveal how well you move.

How many steps can you take while marching in place for two minutes? In this video, SilverSneakers fitness expert David Jack explains how the two-minute step test can give you clues about your mobility and cardiovascular health.

You’ll need:

  • A wall with some open space
  • A sturdy chair or object of similar height
  • Non-clear tape or sticky notes
  • A watch or clock
  • Ideally, a partner to keep time on the watch or clock for you

Try the test now, then see what your results mean below. If you’re not able to march in place safely, skip the test, but check out the tips below.

If You Took 100 or More Steps

That’s a sign your cardiovascular health, balance, and coordination—all factors in how well you can move in daily life—are above average. To stay in tip-top shape, look for ways to challenge yourself.

If you perform the same workout day in and day out without increasing its difficulty, your body will stop adapting. Check out these five tweaks that will make your workout much more effective. Or why not try a new activity or SilverSneakers class?

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If You Took 51 to 99 Steps

That’s a sign you’re in the average range. In general, someone in their 60s or 70s will likely have a higher score than someone in their 80s or 90s. Your goal: Keep it up, and pay special attention to areas that may need improvement.

For example, if you feel steady on your feet but you’re huffing and puffing, you may need to prioritize cardiovascular exercise. If you barely broke a sweat but wish you felt stronger on your feet, add balance exercises.

If You Took 50 or Fewer Steps—or Felt Pain in Any Joints

That’s a sign your mobility is at risk, meaning you may not be able to walk as much as you would like for daily activities or you may be at risk of falls.

It’s also a sign to talk to your doctor, who can help you get any needed treatment and find the right fitness plan for you. Ask these three questions:

  • What types of exercise are appropriate for me?
  • How often and how much should I do them?
  • Are there precautions or steps I should take? For example, people with arthritis will want to understand which joints—hips, knees, ankles, and so on—are affected.

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