You know your chronological age. It's what we usually try to forget on our birthday. But what is your body's age? Body age is a measurement of how old you are biologically based upon your health and fitness level as opposed to what your birth certificate indicates.
For example, someone who is thirty-five years old may have a body age that is ten years older. Knowing this fact may be a powerful motivator to encourage you to work toward improving your overall fitness level.
Optimum Physical Fitness
Optimum physical fitness, as defined by the American Council on Exercise, is the condition resulting from a lifestyle that leads to the development of an optimal level of cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, and flexibility, as well as the achievement and maintenance of ideal body weight.
According to the Cooper Institute, another description is the ability to carry out daily tasks with vigor and alertness, without undue fatigue, with ample energy to engage in leisure time pursuits, and to meet the above average physical stresses encountered in emergency situations.
If you think taking a couple of inches off your waist would feel good, just imagine how great you would feel after taking a few years off your body age. The good news is that your body age can be reduced!
In fact, your obtainable body age may very well be below your chronological age. By improving your overall fitness level and reaching your obtainable body age, it could possibly help you to live longer and feel younger.
Determining Your Body Age
You may be wondering how to determine your own body age. The first step is a body age assessment. It will tell you where you are today and give you a benchmark to measure your progress. But that's only the beginning. The evaluation will also tell you how many years you can take off your body age and recommendations for how to do it.
Body Age Assessment
Components involved in the body age assessment include an evaluation of your health risk factors, nutrition, absolute and dynamic strength testing, flexibility, body composition, and cardio respiratory fitness.
Important also in the evaluation is learning your VO2 max, which is the maximal amount of oxygen that can be used by the body per minute. The ability to perform sustained activity at a high percentage of max VO2 is an important element of cardio respiratory fitness.
You will also learn of your resting metabolic rate. Resting metabolic rate is the amount of calories that your lean tissue uses each day simply at rest.
Armed with this information, you can determine a good estimate of calories you should consume daily based upon your goals. A meal planner and additional recommendations to improve your overall health are also included.
Body age is thus calculated from the results of your assessments and how you compare with others of your same sex and age. At the very least, your body age should be the same as your chronological age. Your obtainable body age is what you can realistically reach with a well-rounded wellness program.
Wellness considers health, disease and risk potential. A traditional view of wellness believes that if you are not ill, then you are well. However, more accurately stated, wellness is a state of positive well being including the physical, mental, spiritual and social.
Health professionals feel that more than half of deaths that occur in the United States could be delayed by practicing positive lifestyle behaviors. According to Dr. Kenneth Cooper, twelve ways to improve the opportunity for a lifetime of good health include:
- Stop taking drugs, smoking and chewing tobacco
- Limit alcohol
- Exercise regularly
- Eat less animal fat, cholesterol and sodium
- Eat more complex carbohydrates and drink more water
- Achieve and maintain ideal body weight
- Take appropriate supplements
- Fasten safety belts
- Limit sunlight exposure or wear sunblock
- Get immunizations
- Obtain good prenatal care
- Get regular medical check ups and self exams
Consult with your fitness trainer to set realistic goals in fitness and lifestyle change to reach your obtainable body age. By doing so, you will receive the valuable support and encouragement you need to reach your goals and ultimately create a healthier, younger you!