In this day and age, it’s common knowledge that regular exercise helps promote good health—even in older people. What we don’t quite know, however, is exactly how much it helps maintain the health of our bodies and minds—but recent research may give us a good idea.
The research done on athletes in this year’s National Senior Games (Senior Olympics), shows that “older athletes can be much younger, physically, than they are in real life,” according to The New York Times. In fact, among the more than 4,200 athletes studied, there was a disparity of more than 20 years between their actual age and their fitness age.
“While the athletes’ average chronological age was 68, their average fitness age was 43, a remarkable 25 years less,” writes The New York Times.
The research was made possible through the use of a fitness age calculator, which is built on research done by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim. Researchers first developed the concept of a fitness age using metrics like your VO2max and then built a calculator to allow the average person to measure themselves.
While there’s still more useful information to be studied from the senior’s study, the preliminary data is a great sign that exercise does more good for our bodies than previously thought.