Turns out it is possible to dial back the clock and regain your glory days, the 50 year old you could actually be the fittest you’ve ever been.

Mid-Life Is Not Too Late For Fitness

Research into middle age fitness levels of 19,815 men and women ages 45 to 50 shows for each MET (metabolic equivalent) increase in cardiorespiratory fitness level, the risk of stroke drops by 7%. Participants’ heart and lung cardiorespiratory fitness was assessed and classed as high, mid-range, or low fitness. Those in the highest fitness level had a 37% lower risk of stroke after age 65 and this held true even if other conditions such as high blood pressure or type 2 diabetes were present. Study authors state that exercise plays an independent role in the prevention of stroke.

Older Lifelong Exercisers Have Same Blood Flow Response as Twenty-Somethings
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Rapid-onset vasodilation (ROV), a marker of blood flow response that is associated with exercise capacity and cardiorespiratory fitness, was measured in 16 long-term exercisers ages 59-85 (average, 66) and compared with ROV in untrained, age-matched adults and in young adults ages 22-24. The exercise-trained older adults self-reported working out 4 or more days a week for 1 hour or more for the past 20 years, and many were still involved in running and cycling races. The older exercisers and the young adults had similar ROV, while the older non-exercisers had significantly lower results. The older exercisers and the young adults also had similar work rate maximums, but WRmax in the untrained older group was significantly lower. The authors note that their study provides more evidence that regular exercise can counteract age-related decline.

Being Fit Lowers Odds of Low Bone Density in Older Men

This cross-sectional study of 2,569 men (mean age 63.5) found that having moderate to high cardiovascular fitness can help reduce the decline in bone mineral density that happens as we age. Participants were characterized as having either low, moderate, or high cardiorespiratory fitness, based on results of a maximal treadmill test. Femoral neck bone density was also assessed for each participant. Among the men, 4.1% showed osteoporosis and 49.4% had low bone mineral density. Those men who had higher cardiorespiratory fitness had significantly lower odds of osteoporosis and low bone mineral density.

The Test

A 70-year-old man or woman who has the peak oxygen uptake of a 20-year-old has a fitness age of 20,” Dr. Ulrik Wisloff, the study’s senior author and the director of the K. G. Jebsen Center of Exercise in Medicine at the University, told The New York Times

Your body’s capacity to transport and use oxygen during exercise (VO2 max) is the most precise measure of overall cardiovascular fitness. Based on the extensive research of The K. G. Jebsen Center of Exercise in Medicine at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, you can easily estimate your fitness level by answering these few questions.

Take the test below to find out your fitness age!

Test Your Fitness Age