How to determine and optimize your fitness age with fitness trackers
It is not the number of your birthdays that is decisive for a long, healthy life, but your fitness age. Regular training and a balanced diet are the only true fountain of youth, as an American study has now shown once again. There are a handful of fitness trackers that can help you track your fitness age.
Cardiologists at the Cleveland Clinic in the U.S. have found a formula that translates vitality into a physiological age. This is then said to provide more reliable predictions of life expectancy than chronological age. As part of their fitness study, over 125,000 patients underwent regular exercise tests on a treadmill over a period of years. Depending on the training capacity and the ability of the heart to quickly return to normal after exercise, the fitness age is determined. The younger this physiological age, the higher the motivation to further increase one’s training performance. Conversely, telling someone that their fitness age is ten years older than it says on their ID card can also be a motivating warning. After all, as physiological age decreases, so does quality of life and expectations.
To rejuvenate oneself in terms of fitness age, one must first and foremost train diligently. The training should be adjusted regularly in order to provide the body with new adaptive stimuli. Of course, this also includes regeneration, which is promoted by training-free days, sufficient sleep and a balanced diet. If you stick with it, you will feel the difference after a few weeks: You will not only be more efficient, more persistent and more vital, but you may also see progress in the mirror. Until then, it can help to motivate yourself with a fitness tracker. For anyone who wants to track their fitness age in black and white, we recommend a wearable with this feature.
These fitness trackers calculate your fitness age
The Garmin vivosmart 3 is the latest fitness wristband from the Swiss manufacturer and not only trumps with a stress level tracker, but also translates your fitness into a key figure. To view this, users need to log into the Garmin Connect web app and click on the reports in the left menu bar. Here, you select VO2Max and then also see your sport age, which is tied to your VO2max fitness level.
Of course, you can also view your fitness age directly on the device: Simply open the Garmin Connect app and go to the performance statistics in the upper left on Android. On iOS, these are on the right and “More”. Then just tap VO2Max and go to the question mark here. Older Garmin wearables also give you an estimate of your VO2Max value. It is then still classified with the help of a scale from excellent to poor in relation to men and women of the same age. The VO2Max value provides information about cardiovascular fitness, i.e. the maximum oxygen intake (in milliliters) that can be utilized per minute and per kilogram of body weight at maximum performance. Modern fitness trackers calculate this based on heart rate and exercise data.
Heart rate over the course of the day and activities logged by MoveIQ.
With fitness trackers you can measure your fitness and visibly improve it.
Various fitness watches from TomTom also have a feature for determining fitness age. This is available as an update for TomTom Spark 3 Cardio and for the +Music edition as well as for the previous model TomTom Spark Cardio (+Music). The TomTom Adventurer and the TomTom Runner 2 and 3 Cardio (+Music) are also able to determine your fitness age. The watches also measure the VO2Max value. The higher it is, the more fit you are. TomTom then translates this value into a fitness age, because users can usually do more with this information. At the same time, users can collect fitness points and reward stars or receive personalized workouts. TomTom provides guidance here: If you want to maintain your fitness level, aim for 100 fitness points per day; if you want to make fast progress, try to crack 500 points.
Other wearables also classify your fitness using VO2Max
Fitbit devices with heart rate measurement also provide information about personal performance with the so-called Cardio Fitness Score. To do so, go to the heart rate tile in the Fitbit app. A heart rate chart is displayed at the top of the screen. Swipe across the chart to get to the Cardio Fitness chart. The Cardio Fitness score is determined using the VO2Max estimate, resting heart rate, age, gender, weight, and other personal data. You’ll get the best results if you log your weight correctly in your Fitbit profile. You’ll get a better estimate of your resting heart rate if you also wear the tracker at night. The cardio fitness score is classified into one of six cardio fitness levels, ranging from poor to excellent. These levels show you how your cardio fitness score compares to others of your gender and age range. In addition, you can also track how VO2Max improves through running workouts with Polar sports watches and see their effects after each training session.
The Fitbit Versa and Ionic determine your fitness with the VO2Max estimate.
How to improve your fitness level
If your fitness level is lower than you’d like, it could be due to a number of factors. These include a sedentary lifestyle, which also puts you at increased risk for cardiovascular disease. To improve your fitness level, you should aim to exercise and lose a healthy amount of weight. This can improve your fitness score by a whopping 20 percent in two to three months. To find out how much exercise the World Health Organization recommends per week, read the next article. This much in advance: You should not only focus on leisurely endurance runs and the like, but also take advantage of the benefits of strength training with regard to the increased energy requirements of the muscles and focus on high-intensity interval training: This not only boosts fat burning for hours after the workout, but also significantly improves VO2Max.
HIIT is a very effective workout for improving fitness.
Garmin, TomTom & Fitbit rate your fitness – Apple only closes rings.
If you want to increase your fitness and thus also your health and life expectancy, you can motivate yourself wonderfully with a fitness tracker. Especially because you don’t see or feel the progress yourself so consciously, it can help to track whether you are on the right track with digital support. Unfortunately, the selection of wearables that go one step further and evaluate fitness data for athletes in a comprehensible way is still smaller than one might assume: So far, outdoor sports specialists TomTom and Garmin have led the way, translating the data into a comprehensible fitness age. Fitbit and Polar estimate the VO2Max value, which provides information about the maximum oxygen intake at maximum performance in a certain period of time. With the help of a scale, users can understand whether their fitness corresponds to their actual age or is particularly good or bad.
The Apple Watch, on the other hand, offers numerous useful functions in everyday life, but Apple still has to do some research with regard to the classification of athletic performance. So far, owners of an Apple Watch can close the so-called rings on the watch and document their workouts by regularly standing, walking and exercising. They can then see their workload, calorie consumption, and so on, but cannot track how their endurance performance is improving. This is an indispensable feature for athletes, but Apple seems to want to tap other target groups first: With the integrated ECG of the Apple Watch Series 4 and the automatic fall detection, these are primarily older people.