BioAge test (19th March 2012)

As part of Fitness First's International Fitness Week promotion, the gym at Elizabeth Plaza where I go to mostly to workout was providing free BioAge test for members today. I've heard about the BioAge test before and it's a test to measure a person's 'real' or 'biological' age in relation to how well one is performing for their actual years. As a general rule of thumb, your 'biological' age should be less or equal to your chronological age - if more, that means your body (and mind) is older than you actually are. Curious, I decided to check it out post-workout just to see how I fare.

There are 4 levels of BioAge testing available and the one conducted at Fitness First was the clinical test for people who are interested in their health and well-being. No appointment necessary - all I had to do was rock up to the testing station set up on the ground floor and wait my turn. The BioAge test was carried out by a qualified personal trainer who measured results in three areas: metabolic (BMI, blood pressure), physical (aerobic fitness, muscle endurance and flexibility) and behavioural (stress, smoking, alcohol, nutrition).

The next available personal trainer came to get me and we went through a series of questions about my diet and lifestyle - do you smoke? 
How often do you exercise? How many times do you eat out a week? How many servings of fruit and vegetables do you have a day? - and so forth. This was followed by her taking my measurements (height, weight and waist circumference) as well as my resting blood pressure using a sphygmomanometer. "Ok, now for the breath test," said the trainer and she gave me a peak flow meter, a small hand-held device used to measure my ability to breathe out air (this is the same device doctors use to detect if you have asthma). Three readings were taken and that concluded the non-physical part of the BioAge test.

To obtain my active heart rate, I had to go up and down a step elevated with risers for 3 minutes in a steady tempo following the beat to a song played on the CD player - I could hardly hear the beat with other noises in the gym so the trainer helped by counting aloud for me. 1, 2, 3, 4...1, 2, 3, 4...Though the movements weren't rapid, it got me breaking a sweat by the end of the exercise - phew! Following that, I was on the floor and had to do as many knee push ups as I could. A quick rest and I was back on the floor to hold the plank (ab exercise) for as long as possible. The final test was flexibility and this was measured by how far I could reach over my toes in sitting position with my legs flat on the floor. "Well, that's pretty much it. We'll email you the results of your test this evening," said the trainer. The whole test took around 15 minutes which was pretty quick. Several other gym members were going through the same test with the other trainers, some waiting around for their turn. Very popular!

I was a bit nervous to see my results - yes I exercise regularly but there was a part of me that thought maybe I was still not doing enough to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The result: my biological age is 22.50. Really??! I was slightly dumbfounded when I saw the figure in the results report but pretty pleased with the outcome (and my hard work so far). I scored pretty well across the board and the test suggests that I could further improve my BioAge score if I worked more on areas such as core muscle endurance, push-ups, cardiovascular fitness and nutrition, all of which I am well aware aren't exactly my strongest areas. Well, I've got my work cut out for me this year with the upcoming trip to Machu Picchu - my personal trainer has started me on an arduous training programme to prepare me for the challenging 4-day hike. That should help shed off a few more years off my biological age. Gosh, to think 8 years less than my actual age was much - there's room for more!


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