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Fitness Friday: How old are you, really?

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By Ron Kaspriske


You've probably heard a friend or family member say they don't feel as old as their actual age, while another person you know might lament that they're "30 going on 40." Turns out that these people might be right. A recent study by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology concluded that your actual age rarely matches your level of fitness. What does that mean? You might just have the body of a person half your age, or, eeek, twice your age.

Professors studied the fitness levels of 4,637 men and women, ages 20 to 90, by getting them to run on a treadmill to the point of exhaustion. They built a database with the results and then developed a simple calculator anyone can use to determine their "fitness age." This number represents the typical desirable fitness level of a person that age. So if you're 40 and the calculator says your fitness age is 35, pat yourself on the back and keep striving to get younger. If you're 40 and it tells you you're 43, well, you've got some work to do.

Here is a link to the calculator: www.ntnu.edu/cerg/vo2max. You'll need to know your actual waist size and your resting heart rate.

The calculator also gives you your VO2 max rate. This is a measurement of your body's ability to convert oxygen to be used by your muscles when you do anything strenuous. The higher the number, the more fit you are from a cardiovascular standpoint. Here is a link to a chart that will tell you where you stand against others in your age group: www.machars.net/v02max.htm.

Ron Kaspriske is the fitness editor for Golf Digest.



(Photo by Getty Images)
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