A brief walking assessment can predict new functional limitations in residents who’ve suffered a heart attack, according to a new study from Yale and New York University.

The researchers used an assessment called “Timed Up and Go,” or TUG. Participants included more than 2,500 patients aged 75 or older who were hospitalized for heart attack. During the test, they were asked to rise from a seated position, walk a short distance, turn, return to the starting point and sit back down.

A strong link was found between poor TUG performance and new limitations on participants’ ability to care for themselves. Difficulty bathing was the top limitation, followed by dressing, getting in and out of a chair, and walking around the home, reported Alexandra M. Hajduk, Ph.D., MPH.

This easy-to-administer mobility assessment may be useful to identify older patients with acute myocardial infarction who are at risk for functional decline, Hajduk concluded.

The study was published last week in JAMA Internal Medicine.