When it comes to aging, we all tend to focus on our “chronological age” as the key barometer for our health and wellness. However, researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim have come up with another measure that they feel is an even better predictor of longevity. They call it our “fitness age” and the exciting thing is that, unlike our chronological age, our fitness age is something we actually have the ability to lower!
 
WHAT IS “FITNESS AGE” ANYWAY?
Our fitness age is essentially a measure of our cardiovascular health. For several years, these Norwegian scientists studied a group of 5,000 people between the ages of 20 and 90 and measured their aerobic capacity, heart rate, waist circumference and exercise habits. They then used this data to generate a close approximation of each person’s VO2max – a reflection of the body’s ability to take in and utilize oxygen. By comparing each person’s VO2max with others from the same chronological age group, they then came up with a fitness age for each person. In other words, if your VO2max is lower than others in your age group, your fitness age is higher than your chronological age. If your VO2max is higher, then your fitness age is lower than your chronological age.
 
DOES “FITNESS AGE” REALLY MATTER?
A study published in the June 2014 edition of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise suggested that fitness age is actually a better predictor of longevity than chronological age. It pointed to the fact that people with a fitness age that was significantly higher than their actual age had an 82% higher chance of dying prematurely than those who had fitness ages that were closer to their actual age. However, the good news is that your fitness age can be lowered.
 
HOW DO YOU LOWER YOUR “FITNESS AGE”?
So what can you do to lower your fitness age? For many people, joining a gym or working with a personal trainer is the preferred solution. However, if the gym environment doesn’t appeal to you, there are other things you can do to improve your cardiovascular health. Walking, for example, is one of the easiest ways to get regular exercise and it promotes a number of health benefits. Why not add an after dinner walk with the family to your regular routine or, whenever possible, consider walking rather than driving. This allows you to get in shape while spending quality time with your loved ones. Another great idea is to go for a “walking date” rather than a coffee date when you meeting up with friends. Or, perhaps, take up cycling or join a running group. Every little bit counts!
 
If you’re looking to improve your cardiovascular health and increase your longevity but would prefer to do so in a safe environment with the guidance and support of licensed health & fitness professionals, please don’t hesitate to let us know. Remember, at Physiomed, Heathier Starts Here.