Does Your Fitness Age Show that You are Fit?
It’s pretty easy to determine your chronologic age – simply look at your birth date. But, what is your fitness age? It sure would be nice to have something simple to tell you how fit you are for your age and relative to others. There now is such a tool. One nice thing about fitness age is you can actually get younger – that is if you become more fit – which we all can. But you can’t do that with your chronologic age. Each day you get older chronologically as time passes like sand through the hour glass.
Traditionally, VO2max has been used to determine how fit someone is. VO2max measures your ability to take in and use oxygen. It’s a determinant of cardiovascular endurance.
Norwegian researchers have developed a formula based on data collected on more than 36,000 Norwegian adults since the early 1980s. From that data they were able to estimate each person’s VO2max and thus, their fitness age. Their results were published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.
People whose calculated VO2max was more than 85% below the average for their age were found to be at 82% higher risk of dying prematurely than those whose fitness age was the same or younger than their chronologic age. I don’t think these findings are surprising. People who are more fit tend to live higher quality of life and that is usually associated with higher quantity of life. In my opinion, function (fitness) is the ultimate expression of health.
The researchers felt that fitness age may be a better predictor of early death than traditional risk factors like being overweight, high cholesterol, smoking or blood pressure.
Calculating Your Fitness Age
An online fitness age calculator based on this Norwegian study is now available. Click here to find your fitness age. Well? Are you more or less fit than your age?
My fitness age is 31 years old, or 23 years younger than my chronologic age – so about about as young as my child could have been had I had one right out of college. I feel more like 15 years younger fitness wise than my “stated age” so in my case I think the fitness age calculator overestimated my youth. I’m definitely stronger than anytime in my life, but have been in better cardiovascular fitness at other times.
If you use the fitness age calculator that we linked too, let us know how accurate you think your fitness age is compared to how you feel.