Biological Age vs. Real Age

We all know that exercising, eating healthy foods and living smart lifestyle habits can all contribute to a long life. But exactly how long are doctors talking about? Medical researchers and doctors have begun to analyze the effects a healthy lifestyle can have on your life expectancy – quite literally, how long you’ll live. Depending on the way you live, the habits you practice and the foods you eat, your “biological age,” as it’s called, could be quite lower than your “real” age.

Think of it this way: Your biological age is an assessment of your complete physical condition as it compares to an average person of a particular age. Someone who is actually age 50 but eats right, exercises and gets enough sleep might have a biological age of 42. This means that, in theory, the person is likely to live longer. Conversely, a 40-year-old who smokes, has a stressful job and eats only fast food might have a biological age of 57 – this person is aging rapidly because he or she isn’t taking good care of his/her body.

There are several online quizzes as well as books that discuss in great detail the concept of biological age vs. real age. While there is no set scientific rule, the ideas of the theory are very applicable to daily life: We all know the ways we should live – but actually choosing to live our lives in a healthy manner can be difficult. Perhaps if we analyze our biological age, we might see the actual effect that unhealthy living is having on us.

Key factors in age quizzes

Not all age tests are identical, but most take into account similar factors and lifestyle choices. Here are some of the most important issues involved:

  • Your actual age: The tests need to know your actual age to it can compare your answers to those that are typical of people your own age. Lying won’t help you – it’ll skew the data.
  • Your basic stats: Your height, weight and sex will play a huge role in the quizzes. Be prepared with this data before you take the test. The quiz takes into account statistical data surrounding height and weight, and how these factors affect men and women differently.
  • Basic health data: The quiz is likely to ask you about your basic health – whether you’ve had any serious illnesses, if you have immune system deficiencies, if you have trouble with food digestion. It also may ask about family health history, such as whether either of your parents is still living, or whether either of them had a serious disease such as cancer.
  • Lifestyle choices: You’ll also be asked whether you smoke, whether you drink (and how often), and to take an inventory of the types of foods you regularly eat. Think about how often you eat fruits and vegetables, and how often you eat fast food, processed food, or red meat.
  • Behavioral issues: The test also may inquire about how often you sleep, your marital status, whether you have a stressful job, or other factors related to the way you live your life. Some of these could have as big of an impact as the food you eat or your family history.