What’s Your Fitness Age?

In my May 14 post of this year, “An Age-Proof Life: Shattering Aging Myths,” I wrote about record-breaking athletes who were in their 70s, 80s, and 90s when they achieved their accomplishments. Clear evidence you can have life-long fitness.

In line with this, an article “Older Athletes Have A Strikingly Young Fitness Age” highlights that the fitness age of athletes is typically 20 years younger than their chronological age—“at any given age, fit people where relatively younger than were people who were out of shape.”

Connecting with this, researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology collected the test results from more than 5,000 Norwegian adults and “used the resulting data to create a sophisticated algorithm that could rapidly calculate someone’s aerobic capacity and relative fitness age based on his or her sex, resting heart rate, waist size and exercise routine.”

Using these computations, a site was created where you can go to determine your fitness age.

In an attempt to see how lifestyle affects biological age, Dr. Pamela Peeke, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Maryland, and Ulrik Wisloff, who led the development of the above calculator, decided to study the participants in this year’s Senior Olympics. Thus, they asked the nearly 10,000 qualifiers, men and women ranging in age 50 to 100, to complete the online calculator. More than 4,200 people responded.

Some of the results of their study are:

  • 68 was the average chronological age, but their average fitness age was 43.
  • The results were similar for males and females.
  • Almost every athlete’s fitness age was lower than his/her chronological age.
  • No determination has been made to whether endurance events (i.e., swimming, distance running) have a lower fitness age than less vigorous sports.

You may well think the above individuals have been life-long athletes. Think again. “Few Senior Olympians returned to or began exercising and training regularly until they were middle age or older.”

Inspired? How about getting out your exercise gear—for the 2017 National Senior Games, the qualifying competitions begin next year.

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