morning, Tony Diamond goes to a local park for an hour of fast walking.
Then he runs for another hour. He also goes to a gym two or three times
a week for muscle training. The retired navy captain won three medals at
the 2015 National Senior Games in the road race and the race walk in his
age group, 85 to 89.
“I'm 62 years old and my fitness result showed that I was 32 years," she
says. “It really wasn’t until I turned to 50 that I decided to become
much more serious and focused about play, and just making sure it is
daily part of my life.”
White and Diamond are among some 5,000 competitors in the National
Senior Games, a biennial competition for athletes over 50 that was
recently held in Minnesota, who took part in the study on fitness age.
The research, led by Dr. Pamela Peeke of the University of Maryland in
coordination with Dr. Ulrik Wisloff of the Norwegian University of
Science and Technology, who developed a fitness calculator, found that
older athletes’ fitness age is more than 20 years younger than their
“You simply input very straightforward data," said Peeke, explaining how
the study was conducted. "We ask you questions: your age, height,
weight, how much you work out, your waist size, heart rate, blood
pressure, and it goes on. Then you press a button, you find out what
your actual fitness age is.
“This kind of testing, an assessment of fitness age, is actually very
valid and it helps us understand the benefits of being fit and healthy,”
she added, explaining that anyone can use the online calculator for
Peeke, a board member of the organization that runs the National Senior
Games, says many of the competitors didn’t start training until later in
life. Consisting of a variety of sports — from track and field to
triathlon — the games' average competitor is 68, although their average
fitness age is 43.
"It doesn’t matter how old you are," she said. "Twenty, 25, 30 ... who
cares, all of us can lower our fitness age by staying right on top of
it, taking good care of ourselves, especially physical activity."