How old am I? Biological age versus actual age
Last week I took a biological age test. For the uninitiated, this test gives an approximation of biological age or how old my body seems, versus my actual (or chronological) age. Simply put, it can give a useful indication of how well I am ageing.
It should be noted that the results are a guide and should not replace any check-ups with a medical professional. It is not intended to be diagnostic; however, it can help to serve as a reminder and motivate a change in lifestyle, or to prompt a visit to your doctor.
What is biological age?
I’d first heard about the notion of biological age when I was initially researching for Age Life Balance, just prior to launch 2 years ago. At that point, I was fascinated with the ageing subject and was literally drinking up as much information as I could in books and articles.
I particularly remember reading about biological age and Bioage tests in Patrick Holfold’s book 10 Secrets of Healthy Ageing and thinking, “That sounds interesting!”, and then not pursuing it any further.
I’d also included a question on biological age within my Words of Wisdom questionnaire. Of the 50 people I interviewed, most hadn’t even heard of the biological age, let alone taken a test for it.
So, when I got the opportunity to take a test (a January special offer), I jumped at the chance.
The test was conducted by Jane Sedgley from Vitalise4Life. We’d been fortunate to meet at a networking event a couple of weeks before, where we were drawn to one another by a shared interest in successful ageing,and had agreed to talk further.
Ultimately, we have plenty of synergies and opportunities to explore further, which no doubt will be covered in a future blog.
I decided to take up the January biological age test special offer and we agreed to meet ASAP to do it.
The test is administered using a small electronic machine. It’s portable and includes a small box containing a computer and a blood pressure band. It can be used anywhere, but preferably somewhere calm, so not to impact the results. We met in a café just before lunch and fortunately it was a fairly quiet.
I was asked to avoid drinking caffeine prior to the test, as well as refraining from alcohol, smoking and eating a meal, as these activities can affect blood pressure.
Jane put the blood pressure band around the top of my left arm and took 3 readings within approximately 5-minute intervals. We carried on our conversation before, during and after the tests. There was no pain or discomfort, and it simply felt like having my blood pressure tested.
What was tested?
Jane measured 2 things during the readings. The first was blood pressure and the second was arterial stiffness.
Blood pressure is a measure of the force that your heart uses to pump blood around your body.
My blood pressure has generally been on the low side of normal for as long as I can remember, and is generally attributed to my level of fitness.
Arterial stiffness is the measure of how stiff the walls of our arteries are and these typically stiffen as we age.
I can’t recall having heard about arterial stiffness before, let alone having been tested for it.
Jane noted down the results to enter into her software, back at home. In addition, she asked me my weight, height and a few other lifestyle questions.
I received the report by email a few hours later.
What’s the interest in biological age?
People age in different ways. Those of the same chronological age may have very different risks for developing cardiovascular disease or cancer or even dying.
Biological age gives us a better idea of where someone stands for their age. It can determine our health and ultimately our lifespan.
Factors influencing our biological age include our genes, what we eat, how much we exercise, as well as our exposure to environmental toxins.
Taking a test can help to raise your awareness and enable you to take any further action, while you still can.
The results and what I’ve learned
I’m pleased to say that my biological age of 38 compares favourably against my true age of 44. I’ve been informed that 70% of adults have a biological age that is higher than chronological age so, I’m pleased to say that mine is in that top 30%.
In spite of my obvious interest in healthy ageing, my aim is not to ‘not age’. The ageing process is not something that we can stop, we are all getting older. We can however try to slow down the rate at which we age. I read an interesting metaphor the other day, about ageing being like a car with an accelerator, but no braek. The only thing we have control of is how hard or softly we press on the accelerator.
I’m not claiming to have all the answers, but I do try to live a healthy live and one of moderation:
- I eat a balanced diet
- I take supplements to top up anything I’m lacking from my diet
- I exercise regularly, but moderately
- I listen to my body
- I try not to get too stressed about things I cannot control
- I take time out to recover and especially for myself
This seems to be working well for me so far.
Although my biological age is not a predicter of my future, nor how long I’ll live, I’ll carry on doing what I’m doing for now. But importantly, I’ll stay alert to other information that could help to improve things even further for me. And of course, I’ll share it with you all too.
Can we do anything to improve our biological age?
25% of the way we age is genetic and 75% is lifestyle related, is often quoted by those in the healthy ageing field. The good news is that there are ways that we can influence the rate at which our bodies age, as long as we act sooner rather than later.
Check out these 6 ways to reduce your biological age.
Fancy checking your own biological age?
There are several different ways to do this:
You can do a Tamah Systems one like the one I did, which involves meeting up with a consultant – I used Vitalise4Life, but you should be able to find someone doing this near you.
I’m pleased to mention that Vitalise4life have kindly agreed to extend the special offer for any tests booked with them during February 2019. (Call Jane – 07810 485541 or Lesley 07725 984804 to book this simple non-invasive test.)
The Patrick Holford one is an online one
I found another one, but I’m not sure how credible this one is – it awarded me a biological age of 18 based on a number of lifestyle questions. While very flattering, I don’t feel I can really rely on this one!
Last week I took a biological age test. In spite of my interest in healthy ageing, my aim is not to ‘not age’. The ageing process is not something that we can stop, however we can try to slow down the rate at which we age by making lifestyle choices.
What are you doing today to impact your biological age? Could you do something different to decrease rather than increase the number, and by consequence, your chances of a long and healthy life?
Thank you for reading! For more of my articles, browse my blog at www.agelifebalance.com to find out more.