How old are you? Now, when people ask us that question, we give them our age in years. But what we should be figuring out is just how old our bodies are, or what their biological age is. You might be surprised to find out that most of the time, it’s not the same age we are.
Chronological Age vs Biological Age
Our bodies have two different ages: chronological age and biological age. As we’ve mentioned, the chronological age refers to how long we’ve actually been alive, but our biological age refers to how old our bodies seem .
There are a few ways that scientists can discover a person’s biological age. One example is determining the length of a person’s telomeres, which are the protective ends of chromosomes. Telomeres work to keep chromosome ends from deteriorating or fusing with a neighboring chromosome, affecting how quickly cells age and die .
Dr. Terry Grossman, founder and medical director of the Grossman Wellness Center in Denver, explains “Every time that a cell divides, a telomere bead falls off from the end of the chromosome. It appears there is a direct correlation between telomere length and biological age. The longer you live, in other words, the greater your chronological age, the shorter the total length of your telomeres.”
But this isn’t the only way you can tell how old your body is. There’s a much simpler way to find your biological age, and you can do it right at home!
Test Your Biological Age
This is a simple flexibility test to see where your body lies relative to your chronological age. First, start off with some light stretching to get your body ready. Maybe do a few slow jumping jacks to get your blood flowing into your muscles.
Now that you’re ready, stand with your feet together and, bending at the hips, try and see how far you can reach down with your hands. If keeping your legs straight is too uncomfortable, allow a slight bend. Memorize how far you got and compare it to the test results.
If you could…
Touch the floor with your hands while keeping your legs straight, your muscles are relaxed and your body is as flexible as an average 20-25-year-old person.
Touch the floor with your fingertips, either with straight legs or with a slight bend in your knees. If you feel little to no discomfort, your muscle flexibility is on-par with someone who is between 35-38 years old.
Touch your toes or just your feet in general with bent knees or straight legs. If you can only reach this far and your muscles are tense and starting to cause discomfort your muscle flexibility is similar to that of someone who is 38-50 years old.
You can’t touch your feet, and if you were to try and reach farther, you would be really bending your knees. If trying to stretch a little farther makes your muscles scream and you need to stand up right away, your muscles have the flexibility of someone over 50.
Luckily, your body’s flexibility is really up to you. With a daily, light stretching routine you can build your flexibility and turn the clock back on your muscles. As for your telomeres, research has shown that a healthy lifestyle based on a proper diet and regular exercise may maintain telomere length .
So, how old is your body?
Keep Reading: 5 Simple Exercises As Effective As Running
Want to do more stretching at home? These books are a great place to start: