How Old Are You Really?

How Old Are You Really?


25 March 2016


‘Age is just a number’ as the saying goes and as it turns out, this is absolutely correct when it comes to your calendar age.

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What other kind of age is there?

Your calendar age is what you celebrate each year and just requires basic mathematical skills to calculate. Your calendar age Your ‘other’ age though, is a little more complicated and requires assessment, and this is your biological age.

You’ve probably come across people who are much older than you who can outrun, outwalk and basically outdo you on a fitness level. These people, in all likelihood, have biological ages younger than their years.

I had heard of this assessment and jumped at the chance when offered the opportunity to find out my biological age.

How do I test my biological age?

Biological age is determined by taking a lot of factors into consideration, namely your health, fitness level and lifestyle. As we all know, how you live your life plays a huge part in your wellbeing, and the biological age test proves just that.

Next, my stats were taken note of. First we took my blood pressure, followed by the lung function test which required me to take a deep breath and blow into a mouthpiece attached to a measurement device. Then we took my height and waist measurement. Weight is not recorded, as taking the waist measurement is more vital when looking at visceral fat – the really unhealthy fat that collects around our organs.

Now came the fun part, the physical tests. I was put through a series of exercises to determine my fitness level. The exercises encompassed strength, agility, core endurance, aerobic fitness and power. I was put through a range of exercises - squats, lunges, rowing, planking, jumping and so on – nothing too complicated but challenging enough. I am a regular gym-goer but I have to admit that some of these exercises are not part of my regime, like standing long jump (to test how far I can jump). The exercises had their own measuring stick; for example the agility test sees how fast you can jump in and out of a hexagon, and the rowing exercise measured how fast you can complete a 500 metre row. The routines are short and simple, and designed to be accessible to anyone, regardless of fitness level and experience.

All the information was then collated, computed and voilà!

My biological age is (drumroll please) -8! What this means is that my health and fitness level is eight years younger than I actually am. While I was chuffed initially, I was soon wondering what it would take to get my score down to -10. Competitive? Maybe a tad bit!

Why should my biological age matter?

Your biological age is a true reflection of how old your body really is. So the lower the negative score, the better shape you’re in. So while my -8 score is actually pretty good, I now aim to get it even lower.

How do I improve my test score?

According to the trainer, there are various ways to improve on the test scores, mainly a change in lifestyle and to up the physical activity. As I mentioned before, I work out a lot but I would perhaps need to focus on other areas of exercise which I may be neglecting. Such as increasing my power to improve my standing long jump, as well as improve my speed and agility to better my time in the hexagon jumping test.

While you should be happy if you get a negative score, a positive score should set off warning bells. No matter how good you look on the outside, your inside is what truly counts when it comes to your health so if you get a positive score, remedy it immediately!

Like any other test, all you need to do is ‘study’ and your test scores should improve. Make lifestyle changes to better your health and fitness levels and you will soon feel younger than your years and ace that test!

As for me, I may not settle for -10 after all as someone has just told me that -16 was the lowest score that he had heard of. Now excuse me while I go hit the gym! #goals