What’s your fitness age?
Researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology have developed an online calculator that can help determine your ‘fitness age’.
Unlike your chronological age that’s calculated from your birth date, your fitness age uses some low-tech measurements to estimate your aerobic fitness and determine how well your body works considering your age.
The researchers took detailed measurements and lifestyle factors from almost 5000 participants, then got them to run on a treadmill to the point of exhaustion, to find out their peak oxygen intake (VO2 max). VO2 max has been shown to closely correlate to significantly increased life expectancy, even among the elderly or overweight. This means it may be a good indicator of fitness age.
Along with your physical fitness, V02 max may also be a good indicator of mental decline. One study evaluated 1400 participants in mental and physical tests and then followed them up seven years later. Those who were more physically fit in the initial exams, or had a better V02 max rate, suffered less cognitive decline that those who were less fit.
“This study shows that your cardiovascular fitness, at one point in time, can predict how well your memory may function in the future,” explained Carrington Wendell, lead researcher of the study from the US National Institute of Ageing.
Although measuring peak oxygen uptake is an important measure of fitness, you can also test your endurance levels to see which areas you need to focus on to get better results in your workout.
To measure your aerobic fitness, calculate your heart rate before and after a brisk walk. Record the figures in a journal and watch your resting heart rate lower as your fitness improves.
Do as many push-ups as you can (either modified on your knees, or in the classic plank style) before you need to rest. Record how many push-ups you do.
Sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you and your heels on the start of a measuring tape. Reach forward as far as you can and measure how far forward you can reach, holding it for two seconds.
Measuring your waist circumference and body mass index (BMI) won’t give you a holistic measure of health or fitness, but combined with other tests and measurements may help determine how you are progressing in your training.