How well are you aging? How to discover your ‘fitness’ age. (WaPo)

The idea that we have a “fitness age,” distinct from our calendar years, first arose more than a decade ago, when studies began showing that aerobic fitness, or, more technically, VO2max, predicts longevity and health span as well as or better than more-widely used health markers, like blood pressure, insulin sensitivity and even smoking history.

Inspired by this research, scientists in Norway began directly measuring VO2max in thousands of Norwegians, aged between 20 and 90, while, at the same time, checking various markers of their general health, including body composition, blood pressure, heart rate and exercise habits, as well as eventual longevity.

Collating this data, they discovered that some of these health markers correlated closely with VO2max and could be used to estimate aerobic capacity. They created an algorithm that would do just that, cross-checked VO2max and longevity, and, finally, developed a simple, online fitness age calculator.

In 2015, she was a co-author and participant in an unpublished study of Senior Olympians. The Senior Olympics are a biennial, elite competition for athletes over the age of 50. More than 4,000 of the athletes used the calculator to assess their fitness age for the study. At the time, their average chronological age was 68.

But their average fitness age was 43 — that’s 25 years younger.

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The Fitness Calculator mentioned in the story:

And - since its all about your Vo2 Max: Exercise, VO2 max, and longevity | Mike Joyner, M.D