"Ever since I've turned 40, I feel younger than ever and more energetic," Gwyneth Paltrow told E! News. You don't need to be a consciously uncoupled actress and lifestyle guru to have the same reaction to getting older. People are living longer than ever and staying healthier as they age: The average American woman now makes it to 81, roughly eight years longer than in 1970. And a survey released in April confirms that we're feeling younger, too. In it, 65-year-old respondents reported feeling more like 55 on average. "We used to consider people old at 65," says Sergei Scherbov, PhD, a demographer at the Vienna Institute of Demography in Austria. "But the age when we consider people old is now a moving threshold."
Even better: Though genetics play a role, 70 to 80 percent of our vitality is up to uswhether we decide to head for a run or park on the couch, eat a steak or a salad, go out or stay in.
So how do you know how old you really are? Thomas Perls, MD, associate professor at Boston University School of Medicine and creator of the Living to 100 Life Expectancy Calculator, helped us create this quiz that reveals your body's "true age"which isn't always the same as the number of birthdays you've celebrated. It's not an exact science, but it can ID what you're doing right and what you could improve on to slow down the aging process. Take the quiz, then check out our anti-aging advice.
The True-Age Quiz
Choose the answers that best apply to you.
1. What's your body mass index (BMI)? (Calculate it at health.com/BMI.)
A. 18 to 21 (-7)
B. 22 to 24 (+4)
C. 25 to 30 (+10)
D. >30 (+20)
2. How much alcohol do you drink?
A. Two or three drinks a week (0)
B. Two or three drinks a month (0)
C. About one drink a day (+3)
D. Two or more drinks a day (+10)
E. None (0)
3. When you get frazzled, you:
A. Lace up your sneakers or call a girlfriend (-2)
B. Take a few deep breaths and keep going (-2)
C. Reach for brownies (+5)
D. Do nothing (+5)
4. How often do you eat red meat?
A. Every day (+12)
B. One to three times a week (+5)
C. Once or twice a month (0)
D. Never (-5)
5. Your highest level of education is:
A. High school (+3)
B. Some college (0)
C. College (-4)
D. Grad school (-5)
6. If you were in a personal crisis, how many people would help out, even if just to drop off a casserole?
A. Maybe 10 (-2)
B. TonsI have a huge support network (-3)
C. A small group of friends and family (0)
D. I'd probably go it alone (+2)
7. How involved are you in the community at large?
A. I'm at a school, church, arts or charity activity about weekly (-5)
B. I volunteer regularly (-3)
C. I pitch in once or twice a year (-1)
D. I write a check now and then (0)
8. How many times a week do you get 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise?
A. Every day (-12)
B. Four or five (-9)
C. One to three (-4)
D. Does channel surfing count? (+5)
9. What's your history with smoking?
A. I've never been a smoker (0)
B. I might sneak in a cig on weekends (+8)
C. I've quit and I feel much better (+4)
D. I've quit but I still have problems with my lungs (+10)
E. I'm a regular smoker (+20)
10. Which meal best reflects your regular menu?
A. A burger, fries and dessert (+2)
B. Roasted vegetables with quinoa and chickpeas (-4)
C. Salmon with spinach and brown rice (-5)
D. Penne with chicken and a side salad (0)
11. Do you drink coffee?
A. Gotta have my two or three cups daily (-3)
B. I practically live at Starbucks (-3)
C. One morning mug (0)
D. I'm not a fan (0)
12. How is your sleep?
A. I score six to seven hours nightly (-4)
B. I like 8 to 10 hours if I can get it (-4)
C. I squeeze in four to six hours (+5)
D. I only get a couple of hours (+7)
13. Let's talk about sex.
A. I'm not seeing much action (0)
B. I do it three times a week on average (-3)
C. More like once a week for me (-3)
D. I get frisky maybe once a month (0)
14. Did any of your relatives live to age 95?
A. At least one person in my family (-10)
B. I'm not sure (0)
C. Nope (0)
Tally your results!
1. Add up the numbers next to each response.
2. Divide that number by 10.
3. If you get a negative number, subtract that number from your chronological age. If you get a positive number, add that to your age.
For example, say you're 43 years old. If your final score is -40, divide that by 10 and you'll get -4. Subtract that from 43—your true biological age is 39! If your final score is +15, divide that by 10 and you'll get +1 1/2. That means your true age is 44 1/2.
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