Do you cringe when someone asks you your age? Or do you state it proudly, knowing you look great for your age? Your chronological age is the number of candles on your birthday cake, the measure by which we count our life and milestones. But what if we should have been be considering a different type of age to serve as a benchmark? For some time now, the biological age of a person has been considered a more reliable way to measure life and health.
Chronological vs biological age
Your chronological age is the usual definition of your time spent on this earth. It is the age that most cultures measure from the day the individual is born.
Your biological age or physiological age is the age that your body and health is equivalent to. It may be different from the chronological age for many individuals. This is based on several factors and takes into account how rapidly your body is aging. It is determined by your physical and mental functions which are a result of genetics, your environment and lifestyle choices.
This is confusing! What is the difference between chronological age and biological age?
Think of it this way: two individuals who are born in the same year may end up with a varied risk profile to age-related diseases after a certain point in time. This because a number of reasons affect the way their bodies age. So even though they may be the same chronological age, their biological ages are different.
What factors negatively impact my biological age?
Aging is an inevitable part of our lives and while some factors may be beyond our control, there are some personal choices we make that affect our health. Scientists now believe that genetic factors account for less than 30% in impacting our biological aging, while 57% of the impact comes from our lifestyle choices.
Here are some factors that have a negative impact:
- Consuming drugs such as nicotine, caffeine and alcohol
- Poor eating habits leading to being over or underweight
- Poor sleep quality
- Remaining sedentary for most portions of the day and not getting enough exercise
Can I reverse my biological age?
Yes you can! Now that you know that many of your choices affect your biological age, it’s time to look at how you can reverse it back to your chronological age:
- Minimize the amount of toxins in your life. This includes tobacco, radiation, pollution, pesticides and other recreational drugs
- Manage stress levels by trying relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, guided imagery, controlled breathing, and massage. Read our blog post Yoga for Beginners.
- Eat a healthy diet based primarily on consuming whole and healthy foods. Avoid all forms of refined, processed and packaged products while ensuring adequate water intake. Read our blog post on Healthy Eating for Beginners.
- Manage pain by consulting a physiotherapist to ensure that pain does not stoke inflammation
- Make sure to get regular health check-ups once you are over the age of 40
- Follow a regular exercise regimen which focuses on higher intensity interval exercise.
- Inculcate some form of strength training to improve body composition, boost metabolism and maintain balanced levels of hormones. Read our blog post on improving muscular strength.
- Practice good sleep habits and make sure you get at least 7 hours of deep and rejuvenating sleep. Read our blog post about How to Fall Asleep Faster.
- Inculcate a sense of positivity in your life and build a future to look forward to.
How can I check if chronological age and biological age match?
You already know your chronological age, but how can you find out your biological age? Here are some options:
- Buy a genetic testing kit online. Do note that these are fun but are not comprehensive diagnostic tools.
- Get yourself checked at the gym. Some gyms measure indicators of aging such as your VO2 max, bio-impedance analysis and grip strength. These offer useful but limited insight into your current state of health.
- Your medical practitioner can conduct a more thorough analysis to give you a better understanding of the rate of biological aging. These tests measure your hormone levels, BMI, blood pressure among many other indicators.
Health, nutrition and mental resilience play an important part in your biological age. If you would like to find a nutritionist online, consult a personal trainer, or find a counsellor, Avaana can help you.