Age, as the saying goes, ain’t nothing but a number. And that might be truer now than previously thought. According to a fitness-age calculator, which claims it can determine your true age by how physically fit you are, your fitness age may be more telling than your actual chronological age.
The fitness age calculator has been around for a few years, but it was recently put to the test by researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. The researchers used the calculator at the National Senior Games, an annual fitness event with more than 12,000 athletes all over age 50.
According to the researchers, while the average chronological age was an impressive 68, their average fitness age was even more impressive: 43.
So, how does it work?
The fitness age calculator takes information about where you live, when you were born, your exercise habits, heart rate, along with your waist size compared to your height.
“Then, using these variables, the calculator comes up with something called your VO2max, a measure of how much oxygen your body can take in, measured in milliliters of O2 per kilogram of body weight per minute,” reports Business Insider. “While your VO2max is influenced by your age and gender, it's largely determined by your workout regimen — generally speaking, the more you exercise, the more oxygen your body can absorb.”
While the calculator is not foolproof—you still need to live a healthy lifestyle and take precautions based on your actual age (like age-appropriate cancer screenings), it does offer some insights, particularly to the benefit of maintaining a healthy weight and a regular fitness routine.
The calculator is easy to use. As a test, we entered our real data: Age 43, exercising for at least one hour 3-4 times per week and a healthy weight and waist size. The calculator returned a fitness age of under 20 years old. We’ll take it! But compare it to what Lydia Ramsey entered for her story in Business Insider: The 22-year-old added 70 pounds to her real weight and ten inches to her waist, “Surprisingly, my fitness age changed to 36,” she noted. Whether or not the calculator can effectively predict your “age” it certainly can give you reason to get in shape or stick to your fitness routine at any age.
Want to test your fitness age? Check out the calculator here.
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