We all have two distinct “ages”; the first is our chronological age (how many years we have been alive), and the second is our fitness age. According to recent studies, there is a direct correlation between the length of our lifespan and our fitness level.
In fact, those same studies have determined that our fitness age is more of a predictor of just how long we will live than how old we physically are.
While we cannot decrease our chronological age, we do have the capability of decreasing our fitness age. By knowing what your fitness age is and how to decrease it, you may just end up living much longer!
How Is Fitness Age Determined?
There are many factors that play into how old you are, according to your fitness age.
The primary determination is your “VO2max”.
This is the measure of the body’s ability to take in oxygen and use that oxygen.
This level indicates the amount of cardiovascular endurance that you have. It is determined by your age as well as others that are the same age as you.
If it is below average, your fitness age is older than your chronological age. If it is higher, than your fitness age will be younger than your chronological age.
Calculate Your Fitness Age
The studies conducted on fitness age were done by specially-trained researchers that are part of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. They created a special test or calculator that will allow you to obtain an estimation of your fitness age.
First, your respiratory health is taken into consideration. Then, various other components are evaluated. These include your heart rate, the amount of exercise that you engage in on a regular basis each week, the size of your waist, your height, and other factors.
Try the fitness calculator.
Fitness Age Chart
By now, you know and understand that physical fitness is a critical component to optimal health and longevity.
Your maximum oxygen uptake is the basis for determining your overall level of cardiovascular fitness.
A Cardiac Exercise Research Group tested 4,600 individuals that were between the age of 20 years old and 90 years old.
A fitness age chart was developed to show the averages of the men and women tested. It outlines the average oxygen uptakes of the various age groups that were tested. To view the information obtained in the chart, see the Fitness Age Chart Study
Average Fitness Level by Age
Average fitness level by age varies on the test subjects being evaluated and the results of their respiratory uptake and other factors. In general, the following five components are listed as the basis for a person’s physical fitness level:
- The Level of Cardiovascular Endurance
- The Strength of the Muscles
- The Overall Endurance Levels of the Muscles
- A Person’s Flexibility
- The Composition of the Body
To reach a point where you have the best average fitness level by age for your chronological age, it is critical that you focus on the five components outlined above.
How is VO2 Max Reached?
To improve your fitness age, you must improve your VO2 Max; that is, the point where the oxygen consumption of your body remains at a level that is steady, despite your indulgence in exercise.
The VO2 Max is considered to be the most specific measure of your aerobic fitness level.
It measures how your body delivers oxygen to the tissues and other regions of the body.
If your body is able to deliver a lot of oxygen without straining the heart, you will have a good VO2 Max level and your fitness age will be significantly younger than your biological age.
VO2 Max Decreases with Chronological Age
A lot happens to our body as we age. The connections that are made between the fibers of the muscles weaken. The motor-based neurons of the body start to die off. The muscles start to shrink. All of these situations reduce our fitness age.
This all starts to happen in our late 30s.
The heart will experience a slowing that results in its failure to send as much oxygen and blood to our muscles when we engage in exercises. One of the best ways to overcome these challenges is to increase the VO2 Max that we each have.
The best way to do this is to exercise in such high intensities that your heart pumps at 85% of its overall capacity.
For high intensity exercises that you may perform to reach this goal, a physical therapist can help.
Movement is Medicine
According to doctors, physical therapists, and other health care professionals, movement is medicine. It not only helps us to maneuver through the natural aging process, it helps us master it and decreases our fitness age.
Movement helps to keep you young, improves your level of vitality, and optimizes the general functioning of your body.
Everything about who we are and what we are capable of is governed by all of the detrimental effects of aging. These include lower endurance, balance issues, dwindling strength, and more.
However, by exercising and working with a physical therapist on a regular basis, you have the capability of reversing the aging process and enjoying perpetually eternal youth!
We Can Help
Here at Back to Motion Physical Therapy, we place a focus on the best medicine – movement. We offer many tools, resources, and programs that can help you experience a younger fitness age. Regardless of your overall chronological age, we can help make you younger!
If you would like to improve your strength, provide a boost to your endurance levels, improve your energy, straighten up any balance issues you may have, and enjoy a higher quality of life, we can help!