How to discover your body’s true age and dial it back

Age is one of the most accurate risk factors for death. An 80-year-old has a much higher risk of dying than a 30-year-old. We all know that. It’s just the way nature works.

But did you know there’s a factor that predicts longevity better than age?

That’s right. Whether you’re old, young or somewhere in between, this risk factor gives you a better picture of how many years you have left than the number of candles on your last birthday cake.

What is it?

Your physiological age.

Say, for example, you’re 51 years old on paper. Your body could be telling a different story. It could be out-of-shape and struggling. You could be a 51-year-old with the body of a 61-year-old… or someone even older.

So how do you gauge your physiological age and estimate your longevity — and why would you want to? Well, if that number is not where you would like it to be, you can do something about it…

Exercise performance predicts longevity better than age

Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic revealed an equation for calculating physiological age and accurately predicting how much longer you’ll live.

The equation, known as A-BEST (Age Based on Exercise Stress Testing), is based on how well the heart responds to exercise and how heart rate recovers post-exercise.

In a study that included 126,356 Cleveland Clinic patients, researchers used this equation to gauge their physiological age. Then researchers tracked their health for over eight years.

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The average age of study participants was 53.5 years old. But using A-Best, researchers found that 55% of men and 57% of women between the ages of 50 and 60 were physiologically younger than their actual age. And when researchers followed up with these people close to nine years later, they found that A-Best score was a better predictor of who died than their actual age.

So, it’s time to stop stressing about stuff you can’t control (like an impending birthday) and focus on something you can — improving your exercise stamina. But first, you need to see where your physiological age stands right now…

Figuring out your physiological age

In the study, researchers had participants walk on a treadmill, which got gradually more difficult. While participants walked, researchers measured exercise capacity, heart rate response to exercise, and heart rate recovery.

Since this is complicated to do without the help of a medical professional, there’s another way to measure your physiological age right now — the World Fitness Level site.

This site calculates your physiological age by asking you a series of questions related to your cardiovascular health and exercise habits.

Give it a shot and see how you stack up, so you have a better idea of what the future has in store for you. But remember, if you don’t like the result, you have the power to dial it back.

Start by exercising daily and eating better. There’s no shortage of traditional diets around the world that have been scientifically proven to help people live better longer (diet makes a difference in your exercise stamina too). You may find that your fitness level will soar higher than ever before, and then you can live as long as your heart desires.
Sources:

  1. Your exercise performance is a better predictor of longevity than your chronological age — MedicalXpress
  2. Estimated age based on exercise stress testing performance outperforms chronological age in predicting mortalityEuropean Journal of Preventative Cardiology
  3. How Old Are You, in Gym Years? — Men’s Health
  4. How Fit Are You, Really? — World Fitness Level

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Margaret Cantwell

By Margaret Cantwell

Margaret Cantwell began her paleo diet in 2010 in an effort to lose weight. Since then, the diet has been instrumental in helping her overcome a number of other health problems. Thanks to the benefits she has enjoyed from her paleo diet and lifestyle, she dedicates her time as managing editor of Easy Health Digest™, researching and writing about a broad range of health and wellness topics, including diet, exercise, nutrition and supplementation, so that readers can also be empowered to experience their best health possible.