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Since social media took us all by storm, there have been a variety of internet challenges that have come along with it. From the cinnamon challenge to the ice bucket challenge, I thought I had heard it all, until now.

The other day, as I was scrolling through TikTok, a new challenge came to my attention known as the ‘old man test.’ This simple trend looks easy on the surface, however, things aren’t always as they appear.

The old man test involves standing on one foot (barefoot) while putting on your sock and shoe and tying it before you put down your second foot. Then, you repeat the same process on your other foot.

Powerlifter Mark Bell performed the test on YouTube as well, and he explains that while this activity may seem simple to some and harder to others, it works to see if ‘you’re still in the game.’

Why? Because it evaluates your leg balance, stability, mobility, and concentration.

“Standing on one leg without the support of the other foot or hands is a challenge on its own. Adding the requirement of picking up items and putting them on the other foot adds a level of complexity, targeting mobility and concentration,” explains Hardikkumar “HD” Unjia, who works in physical therapy with SportsMed Physical Therapy.

Those who don’t pass might need to work on their balance and core stability, and even their glute stability. For those looking to build these, you could try repeating this process each day until you can complete it.

One thing Unjia suggests is to skip trying to put on the sock and shoe while balancing and instead try to balance on the foot at first. Then, you can slowly work your way up to the full process.

I’ve never been a big social media challenge person, but this one could actually serve as a simple fitness test for those concerned about their fitness levels. At the very least, it’s harmless and fun.

“Most of the time when we bend down to pick up something from the floor or reach out for something outside our immediate space, we don’t necessarily have a ‘perfect’ stance. We might be trying to navigate a floor covered with kids’ toys or rushing on our way out the door,”  says Unjia.

“Even walking outside on sidewalks or uneven surfaces, it’s essential to have good single-leg stability and coordination,” he explains and goes further to say that fall prevention is a real concern as we age, and the skills the “Old Man Test” requires reminds us all of that.