The New York Times this weekend ran a piece about fitness age, and how useful this can be in determining how healthy/fit we really are, regardless of actual age (the full piece can be seen here).
Fitness age refers specifically to your level of aerobic fitness. Usually this is done via specific and meticulous testing, performed by experts in a lab. The tests involve multiple body-related measurements – peak oxygen intake (VO2 max), height, body mass index, resting heart rate and cholesterol levels – to name a few.
Researchers in Norway however have now discovered a simpler method for determining a person’s fitness age. Involving almost 5,000 Norwegians, the researchers stripped the data down to five simple measurements – waist circumference; resting heart rate; frequency and intensity of exercise; age and sex – then fed this data through an algorithm to achieve a result. The outcome was a remarkably accurate representation of the person’s VO2 max, aka their fitness age.
Thankfully for those of us who aren’t scientifically minded, the researchers created a nifty online calculator in which we can plug in our own info to learn our fitness age. All you need is your waist measurement and resting heart rate. To measure this, sit quietly for 10 minutes and check your pulse. Count for 30 seconds, double the number and this is your resting heart rate.
Like your real age, the lower the score, the better. The calculator can be found here.