According to a new study, how you perform on a treadmill can predict a person's mortality.

There are already several exercise-based risk scoring systems in existence, all of them measuring short-term risk of dying, specifically as it pertains to patients with established heart disease or overt signs of cardiovascular trouble.

Now, with a new algorithm, dubbed the FIT Treadmill Score, researchers can gauge long-term death risk in anyone based on their ability to exercise on a treadmill at an increasing speed and incline. This could potentially provide valuable clues about a person's health - especially for the millions that undergo cardiac stress tests each year.

"The notion that being in good physical shape portends lower death risk is by no means new, but we wanted to quantify that risk precisely by age, gender and fitness level, and do so with an elegantly simple equation that requires no additional fancy testing beyond the standard stress test," lead investigator Haitham Ahmed, from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, explained in a statement.

"Stress test results are currently interpreted as 'either/or' but we know that heart disease is a spectrum disorder," he added. "We believe that our FIT score reflects the complex nature of cardiovascular health and can offer important insights to both clinicians and patients."

The team analyzed data from 58,000 heart stress tests, involving patients ages 18 to 96. According to the new FIT score, patients who scored 100 or higher had a two percent risk of dying over the next 10 years, while those with scores between 0 and 100 faced a three percent death risk.

In addition, people with scores between -100 and 0 had an 11 percent risk of dying in the next 10 years, while those with scores lower than -100 had a 38 percent risk of dying over the next decade.

"We hope the score will become a mainstay in cardiologists and primary clinicians' offices as a meaningful way to illustrate risk among those who undergo cardiac stress testing and propel people with poor results to become more physically active," added senior study author Michael Blaha.

The results were published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

For more great nature science stories and general news, please visit our sister site, Headlines and Global News (HNGN).