What's Your Fitness Age?

Ageing is a grim reality of being a human being. It’s not something we give a lot of thought to when we’re young, say under the age of 35. But youth is relative. You’re young when you’re in your 20s, 30s, and 40s. Yes – even 40s. While people in their 20s might think a retirement home is the next step for a 40-year-old, a 60-year-old will bemoan the fact that they aren’t 40 anymore. While it is considered the half-way point between birth and death – if you’re lucky – the expression midlife has jumped up the numeric scale to somewhere in the mid-50s. Especially so, barring unforseen circumstances life sometimes presents, if you take care of yourself.

Regardless of perceptions, we have a different take on ageing these days than we did even 15 years ago. While growing older is inevitable, there are ways to keep the body and mind young. No, it doesn’t take a team of personal trainers or live-in chefs – all it takes is a little discipline to put the time aside and, yep, common sense.

We’ve heard over and over how a combination of exercise and diet is healthy. But what is really interesting is that combination can change the age of your body. This is called fitness age, best described as how effectively your body is performing for its years.

Scientists at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology recently evaluated the fitness, weight, and health measurements of close to 5,000 people between the ages of 20 and 90. The team came up with an accurate formula to estimate a person’s maximum oxygen intake (called VO2 max). While this process, like with everything else, declines over the years, it can be remarkably slowed with regular exercise.

You can take the test on the university website. You’ll need to know your waist circumference, resting pulse, and an honest look at how often you exercise. If your fitness age is considerably lower than your actual age, then good for you! Keep up that great work. If it is higher, though, don’t fret. Just consider it to be a wake-up call. And remember, just taking small steps can make a big difference.

(Quick note – I found the first page of the test wouldn’t advance until I changed my country of residence to United States from Canada.)