Have you ever wondered how you stack up in terms of fitness compared to people of a similar age?
More specifically, are you curious how well your body functions physically, relative to how well it should work, given your age?
Well, there is a name for that, and it’s called your “Fitness Age”.
And it has been shown to be the single best predictor of current and future cardiovascular health.
Usually, it’s measured using something called your VO2 max. That measurement tells you:
- how well your lungs are breathing
- how efficiently oxygen is transported through your blood
- how well your heart is pumping blood to working muscles
- how well your blood vessels work to transport blood
Unfortunately, getting to that number has been a pretty difficult endeavor. It usually involves going to a laboratory (inconvenient!), running (hard!) on a treadmill (up hill!) while you’re wearing a (very unattractive!) mask, through which your oxygen and carbon dioxide is measured.
Sounds pretty complicated, right?
An Easier Way To Calculate Your Fitness Age
But now, researchers in Norway have developed an astonishingly easy way to estimate this important number, without all of the pain mentioned above.
You can figure out your Fitness Age by answering just five questions, but first let’s see how these scientists figured this out.
The researchers studied more than 4,600 people and took about a dozen measurements, including :
- body mass index
- resting heart rate
- HDL cholesterol levels
- total cholesterol levels
Each person also filled out a detailed lifestyle questionnaire. Finally, each volunteered for the dreaded treadmill test, running to the point of exhaustion to determine their VO2 max.
Then the scientists combed through the results to figure out which of the data points best indicated VO2 max without a treadmill.
Astonishingly, they found they could predict a person’s VO2 max with remarkable accuracy using a powerful algorithm that required plugging in only five basic measurements:1
- waist circumference
- resting heart rate
- frequency and intensity of exercise
Here’s the really cool part. They used everything they learned, and created an online calculator that helps you determine your VO2 max without setting foot in a lab or putting on that funny-looking mask. And no running required!
Instead, you’ll just need the above measurements, and in only a few seconds, the calculator will tote up your VO2 max.
How Fit is Dr. Steve?
I like to think of myself as very fit.
And yet, here’s a confession. I’m not as fit as I thought! I plugged in all the necessary components, fully expecting to be a good 10 years younger than my chronological age. And I was exactly my chronological age! I guess I should be happy that I wasn’t older. But jeez, it couldn’t have shaved a year or two off?
But here’s the interesting thing. When I went back and fiddled with the numbers, plugging in more intense exercise a little more frequently, then Bam! My age went down by 12 years!
So it just goes to show you, it doesn’t take that much to improve your numbers.
If you want to try it, here’s the fitness calculator: https://www.worldfitnesslevel.org/#/
I’m curious what your fitness ages are. Calculate it and report back!
Steve Sisskind, M.D.
Hi, I'm Dr. Steve Sisskind, Chief Medical Officer & Founder at RealDose Nutrition.
As a young physician, I struggled because my patients came to me with serious health issues, but I didn't have the right tools to help them. Medical school taught me how to put "band aids" on their symptoms with drugs and surgery, but not how to address the root causes of their problems.
Years later I discovered a better approach... based on the fundamental idea that the power of nutrition can transform your health and vitality. But there's a lot of confusion... What foods should I eat? Which supplements should I take? What does the science say?
I have dedicated my life to answering these questions... And I share this knowledge with you every day here at RealDose Nutrition.
I invite you to connect with me by joining my free private community. I've helped thousands of people and I know I can help you too!
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1. Nes BM, Janszky I, Vatten LJ, Nilsen TI, Aspenes ST, Wisløff U. Estimating VO2 peak from a nonexercise prediction model: the HUNT Study, Norway. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2011;43(11):2024-2030. PMID: 21502897.