People view their age as the accumulation of years. This age which is based on how many years someone has lived is called chronological age. Chronological age is easy to track and has been a useful tool in determining longevity. However, a new study finds that “fitness age” is a better index of longevity than chronological age. Fitness age is a better indicator of your cardiovascular health and under certain conditions it could go backwards. So, actually you can grow younger instead of older.
The study focused on fitness and lifespan and the correlation between the two. The concept of fitness age was developed at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim. The university has been finding connections to fitness and wellness for many years.
Fitness age is determined by VO2max, which is a measurement of the body’s ability to utilize oxygen. Fitness age is compared with other people. VO2max is determined with a test of aerobic capacity. If VO2max is below average for the age group, fitness age is older than chronological age and vice-versa. With fitness age, you can have the cardiovascular health of either much younger or much older.
In the original study, there were no findings that fitness age had any correlation with longevity. However, when the data from the study done in the 1980’s was reevaluated, researchers used fitness age to predict lifespan and then checked death records for those who participated in the study. The results were that those who had a fitness age significantly higher than their chronological age had an 82% higher risk of dying prematurely than those who had a fitness age that was equal or younger than their chronological age.
The study revealed that fitness age may be a better indicator for early death than traditional risks like weight, blood pressure, or cholesterol. The good news about fitness age is even if fitness age is significantly higher than chronological age, fitness age can be reversed. Exercise can play a huge role in reducing fitness age and possibly extending your life.