Quick tests to indicate physical aging

By | November 8, 2007

How old are you physically? Do you think you’re young for your age?

Here are four simple tests for aging, adapted from The 120 Year Diet : How to Double Your Vital Years by Roy Walford, M.D. These tests are just meant to be simple indicators of aging, and should not be regarded as scientific based tests. If you’re not in good shape though, you may not fare too well on them, even though you may have yet to hit 50.

1) Skin elasticity test.

skin elasticity testSimply pinch the skin between your thumb and forefinger and hold for 5 seconds and then release your fingers. The time it takes for the skin to go back to normal varies with age. Usual results are:

  • 20-30 years old = 0-1 seconds
  • 40-50 years old = 2-5 seconds
  • 60-70 years old = 10-55 seconds

2) Falling ruler test.

You need an eighteen inch ruler for this test and someone willing to help you with the test. That person needs to suspend the ruler by holding it at the top with the numbers on the ruler increasing all the way down, and the ruler must be between your fingers. The thumb and middle finger should be 3.5 inches apart and all the while equally distant from the 18 inch mark on the ruler. The person lets the ruler go without warning, and you should then try to catch it between your fingers as fast as you can. Repeat this 2 more times and then average the score.

If you catch it at the 5 inch, 7 inch and 3 inch mark, then your score equals to 5+7+3 divided by 3 which comes up to 5.

Usual results are:

  • 20-30 years old = 12 inches
  • 40-50 years old = 8 inches
  • 60-70 years old = 5 inches

3) Static balance test.

static balance testThis looks easy and is probably the best test of the lot. Simply stand barefoot on a hard surface with both feet together, close your eyes and lift your foot (if you are right handed, lift your left foot and if left handed, lift your right foot). Lift your foot about 6 inches off the ground with knees bent at a 45 degree angle. Don’t move your other foot and don’t open your eyes. Have someone to time you how long you can do this without having to open your eyes or moving your foot to avoid falling over…. and also to catch you should you start to fall. Getting an injury is not worth the trouble. 🙂 Do this 3 times and take the average time.

Average results for this test are:

  • 20-30 years old = 28 seconds
  • 40-50 years old = 18 seconds
  • 60-70 years old = 4 seconds

4) Visual accomodation test.

visual accommodation testTo carry out this test, simply bring a page of text towards your eyes until the text starts to blur and have someone measure the distance between your eyes and the paper at the point when the blurring begins. Do this without reading glasses. This test gives an idea of how elastic the lens and muscles of your eyes are, which control vision. As we know, vision decreases with age.

Usual results again are:

  • 20-30 years old = 4.5 inches
  • 40-50 years old = 12 inches
  • 60-70 years old = 39 inches

In summary, these tests are just rough indicators of aging. They are not to be interpreted literally. Old people are not even supposed to be doing well on these tests. But if you are supposed to be “young” and did not do well on them, it might indicate certain aging anomalies or premature aging.