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How old is your body?

by Josh Wakerman on Wednesday 26 April 2017


OK, so here’s the chance to lie about your age. Well, maybe not lie so much as skew the question in your favour.  

The truth is, if you’re fit and well, your body might be younger than you are. I know, that’s confusing, so let us explain. 

For quite a while now, there’s been research conducted on how people’s bodies age at different rates. And, we think it’s time to, firstly, briefly investigate how much truth is there is to this, and secondly, find out if exercise can actually help reverse your body’s ageing process. 

Hang on. Are you saying we might have two different ages?

Well, yes.

You already know what your chronological age is, even if there are times you’d rather forget! But, a recent study has revealed that we have a ‘biological age’ different to the age printed on our passport. Some people age much faster than others, and aging advances at different rates according to factors like health, fitness, diet and lifestyle.  

A Duke University study in the US looked at the rate at which people age. One thousand adults all born in the same year participated in the study, and had checks at 26, 32 and 38. Although all the participants had the same chronological age, tests showed their organs and muscles appeared as if they were vastly different ages. 

Researchers examined a number of factors, such as organ function, dental health and brain functionality to determine a more realistic age for every participant. 

This ‘biological age’ had a clear relationship with the person’s physical appearance and condition, their mental abilities and their susceptibility to illness and injury. 


How to work out your body’s biological age.

To get a precise gauge of your body age, you’d need to visit an exercise-physiology lab. We know, sounds complex and costly. However, there are a few simple methods available to give yourself a useful estimate. 

Gyms sometimes have machines that take various measurements to determine your total body composition (yes, we have them), and there are body age calculators available online. The more information the calculator allows you to input, the more accurate your estimate will be.   

A measurement of your body’s age should take into account physical conditioning and fitness, body composition and an assessment of your lifestyle, all things you can work out yourself or with the assistance of a health professional or trainer. 

Ideally, your body age should be the same as your chronological age or younger. If not, you should embark on well-rounded fitness program, checking your progress as you go. 

Can I really reverse my body’s age?

Believe it or not….yes! And, we’re not talking about some complex medical discovery like in all those futuristic movies we watch and then wish we hadn’t. The aging process can be slowed down through, wait for it… fitness and nutrition. That’s right. It’s that simple. If your body age is higher than optimal, it is possible to reverse it to some degree.  

It's suggested that the best way to bring down your body age is to work towards achieving optimal physical fitness. This means an exercise program that targets the development of cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength and flexibility, as well as the achievement and maintenance of your ideal body weight. Not only will you see your body age begin to go backwards, optimal physical fitness is associated with increased energy levels, alertness and overall wellbeing.  

Figuring out your real biological age might sound a little scary, but it can serve as a powerful motivator, encouraging you to work on your overall fitness level and potentially shed years off your body, not just those pesky kilograms!

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