Blood Test-Based age Acceleration Is Inversely Associated with High-Volume Sports Activity

Sadly (for those of us who don’t feel like exercising 2 hours a day) it looks like high-volume sports activity is one of the best ways to slow aging (at least by this measure).

We develop blood test-based aging clocks and examine how these clocks reflect high-volume sports activity.


We use blood tests and body metrics data of 421 Hungarian athletes and 283 age-matched controls (mean age 24.1 and 23.9 years, respectively), the latter selected from a group of healthy Caucasians of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) to represent the general population (n = 11,412). We train two age prediction models (i.e., aging clocks) using the NHANES dataset: the first model relies on blood test parameters only, while the second one additionally incorporates body measurements and sex.


We find lower age acceleration among athletes compared to the age-matched controls with a median value of -1.7 and 1.4 years, p < 0.0001. BMI is positively associated with age acceleration among the age-matched controls (r = 0.17, p < 0.01) and the unrestricted NHANES population (r = 0.11, p < 0.001). We find no association between BMI and age acceleration within the athlete dataset. Instead, age acceleration is positively associated with body fat percentage (r = 0.21, p < 0.05) and negatively associated with skeletal muscle mass (Pearson r: -0.18, p < 0.05) among athletes. The most important blood test features in age predictions were serum ferritin, mean cell volume, blood urea nitrogen, and albumin levels.


We develop and apply blood test-based aging clocks to adult athletes and healthy controls. The data suggest that high-volume sports activity is associated with slowed biological aging. Here, we propose an alternative, promising application of routine blood tests.

blood_test_based_age_acceleration_is_inversely.PaperOnly.pdf (961.6 KB)


Very interesting and even better they published their code here:

Looks like it’s only valid for males though:


I couldn’t tell how they removed the possibility that the athletes were genetically “better” which allowed them to be athletes who exercised so much and which also provided the superior blood markers. In other words, how did they determine that the exercise was causal?


Well that’s good news to me because I love working out. Just played an hour of basketball outside in the sun this morning and weight trained 5 days this week :muscle:

I am dubious about these clocks. The best and well documented measure of longevity is VO2 Max. You can increase your VO2Max by adopting the Nordic protocol: 4 splits of HIIT, 4 mins @90% of HR Max three times a week. That’s 20 minutes, not 2 hours.