Testing some very basic physical abilities like walking speed, grip strength and ability to balance on one leg could help predict a person's overall health condition and the risk of death, a new study says.

Researchers at the University College London suggest that measuring basic capabilities like the strength of your grip, the speed at which you walk, the manner in which you rise from a chair and the ability to stand on one leg could actually reveal a person's capacity to perform day-to-day tasks.

The results of the study, published in the online edition of BMJ, say that screening tests that assess physical abilities could help doctors identify people who are at an increased risk of death. This, say the researchers, will help doctors identify and intervene with strength training efforts.

The researchers analyzed 33 studies which had researched the physical capabilities in people across age groups and recorded data related to diseases and death of the participants. The researchers found that those with poorer capacity of basic physical functions were at a higher risk of death.

In more than 50,000 people covered as part of 14 studies, it was found that the rate of death was 1.6 times higher among people with the weakest grip compared to those with the strongest. Similarly, death risk was 2.8 percent higher for slow walkers compared with those who walked really fast.

Another study covering 28,000 people ascertained that the death rate was twice as high for people who took the most time to rise from a chair compared with others who were the quickest at this task. The research team confirmed that all studies, barring the one related to grip test, were conducted using older people as volunteers.