Every birthday, you turn a year older. Your age changes. But your youthfulness isn’t just based on the calendar hanging on your wall. That’s why we developed RealAge, to give you a better understanding of your body’s true age considering all your habits — the healthy ones and the not-so-great ones. And to help you choose to make your RealAge younger (you can calculate your RealAge for free at RealAge.com). Now, there’s another age-marker that is really embedded in RealAge but some want to know about it separately so you’d be smart to consider: your fitness age.
A concept developed by researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, your fitness age is essentially a measure of your cardiovascular health based on your maximal oxygen uptake. The higher your fitness level, the higher your uptake. The higher your uptake, the stronger your heart’s ability to transport oxygen through your system. The more optimal your system functions, the lower your risk is of dying prematurely from cardiac disease.
The researchers created a tool for you to calculate your fitness age, which you can access here. If you find yours is higher than your actual age, don’t worry—altering your fitness habits now can take years off your fitness age.
Now, this doesn’t mean we all need to invest in some high-tech running shoes and start training for a marathon (the stress of that on your body and its cells actually makes you older than doing less physical activity). But it does mean you should start incorporating some more physical activity into your routine. And a little bit goes much further than you may think.
Here are three tips to stealthily sneak fitness into your life: Travel by foot every chance you get.
When it comes to lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels, simply walking regularly can make a big difference. You’ll also cut your risk for diabetes and cardiovascular heart disease by clocking 10,000 steps each day. And who knows, maybe once you start walking regularly, you’ll feel inspired to kick it up and go for a jog every now and then. Which brings us to…
You only need to commit to five minutes:
When it comes to running, that is. Yes, you read that right. In the amount of time it takes you to floss and brush your teeth, you can boost your health and extend your life. A recent study found that running for just five minutes each day is all it takes to significantly reduce your risk of death from cardiovascular disease. We can all grin and bear it for five minutes, right?
Stop trying to lose weight:
Weight management is the number one motivation for women to work out. But research has shown that this is actually one of the least successful ways to encourage yourself to break a sweat. Instead, focus on the mood-boosting and life-extending benefits of exercise, and making it part of your lifestyle will be much easier to do.See the book The RealAge Workout: Maximum Health, Minimum Work for for getting more physical activity into your life and making your RealAge the youngest it can be. You can also calculate your RealAge here.