Your performance on a treadmill may tell how long you are going to live, a new large-scale study has claimed.

Analysing data from 58,000 heart stress tests, cardiologists at the Johns Hopkins Medicine have developed a formula that estimates one’s risk of dying over a decade based on a person’s ability to exercise on a treadmill at an increasing speed and incline.

The new algorithm, dubbed the FIT Treadmill Score and described in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings, can gauge long-term death risk in anyone based solely on treadmill exercise performance.

In addition to age and gender, the formula factors in peak heart rate reached during intense exercise and the ability to tolerate physical exertion as measured by so-called metabolic equivalents, or METs, a gauge of how much energy the body expends during exercise.

The team analysed information on 58,020 people, ages 18 to 96, from Detroit, Michigan, who underwent standard exercise stress tests between 1991 and 2009 for evaluation of chest pain, shortness of breath, fainting or dizziness.

Researchers tracked how many of the participants within each fitness level died from any cause over the next decade.

The results show that among people of the same age and gender, fitness level as measured by METs and peak heart rate reached during exercise were the greatest indicators of death risk.

Scores ranged from negative 200 to positive 200, with those above 0 having lower mortality risk and those in the negative range facing highest risk of dying.

Patients who scored 100 or higher had a 2 per cent risk of dying over the next 10 years, while those with scores between 0 and 100 faced a 3 per cent death risk over the next decade.

In other words, two of 100 people of the same age and gender with a score of 100 or higher would die over the next decade, compared with three out of 100 for those with a fitness score between 0 and 100.

People with scores between negative 100 and 0 had an 11 per cent risk of dying in the next 10 years, while those with scores lower than negative 100 had a 38 per cent risk of dying, researchers said.

“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,” said lead investigator Haitham Ahmed, a cardiology fellow at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.