It’s an unfortunate reality that many older adults let their age keep them from remaining physically active, and this may be partly caused by the circulation of elderly fitness myths that really don’t have much truth behind them. But amid all these myths, one fact remains the same: exercise is an essential ingredient in a long and healthy life.
Exercise seems to have an even larger impact on one’s health than previously thought, however. The Norwegian University of Science and Technology conducted a study which found that a senior’s fitness age can be much lower than a senior’s chronological age – by 20 years or more!
What’s Your Fitness Age?
Many of you may be wondering what exactly a fitness age is. Don’t worry – we were just as unfamiliar with this term as you! Researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology developed the term ‘fitness age’ to refer to the fact that those with greater cardiovascular endurance are more likely to live longer than those with below-average cardiovascular fitness.
How exactly did this team of researchers develop this concept? Last year, these researchers found that one’s fitness age is determined by one’s VO2max, or one’s current cardiovascular endurance. VO2max is important in discovering one’s fitness age because it measures the body’s ability to take in and use oxygen.
But this was only the first step, however. To make sure that anyone could easily determine their fitness age, researchers then analyzed the health and fitness of more than 5,000 adults to create an algorithm as part as an online fitness calculator. By calculating the answers to questions based on one’s gender, heart rate, waist size and exercise habits, this algorithm is able to quickly determine one’s fitness age.
So if you’re wondering what your fitness age is, you can take this test within the comfort of your own home just by answering six simple questions with the Fitness Calculator developed by this team of researchers.
Regaining Your Younger (and Fit!) Self
Some may seem skeptical of the accuracy of an online fitness calculator, but it has been tested by seniors with surprising and impressive results. 4,200 athletes participating in the 2015 Senior Olympic Games used the Fitness Calculator, and while the average chronological age of the athletes was 68, the average fitness age was 43 – a remarkable 25-year difference!
Now not all of us are Senior Olympians competing in triathlons, but it does show that not only does this Fitness Calculator works, but also that a senior’s fitness age could be an accurate predictor of longevity.
We’re sure we’d all love to have the ability to regain our youth, which luckily is possible to achieve by decreasing one’s fitness age. Aerobic exercises, such as walking, jogging, running, cycling, swimming, chair exercises and even dancing, are the most effective (and some of the safest) exercises that improve a senior’s fitness age.
This study’s results should motivate all of us to get up and get moving to promote our health, so don’t let popular elderly fitness myths keep you from living an active and independent lifestyle!