The Well Blog at the New York Times posted an interesting article promoting the importance of your fitness age, which is determined primarily by a measure of cardiovascular endurance.
And unlike your chronological age, your fitness age can decrease.
Fitness age is determined primarily by your VO2max, which is a measure of your body’s ability to take in and utilize oxygen. VO2max indicates your current cardiovascular endurance.
Knowing your fitness age could be instructive and perhaps sobering, but it also necessitates knowing your VO2max first, which few of us do. Precise measurement of aerobic capacity requires high-tech treadmill testing.
To work around that problem, scientists decided several years ago to develop an easy method for estimating VO2max. They recruited almost 5,000 people between the ages of 20 and 90, measured their aerobic capacity with treadmill testing and also checked a variety of health parameters, including waist circumference, heart rate and exercise habits.
They then determined that those parameters could, if plugged into an algorithm, provide a very close approximation of someone’s VO2max.
Of course an online test is not the best indicator of your health, but it can be a good starting point to improve or continue to maintain an active lifestyle.
If you’re interested in knowing more about your VO2max, a health care practitioner can point you in the direction towards a complete fitness test.