This biological age calculator shows how old your body is

You know how old you are, but how old is your body?

Biological age calculator
(Image credit: Catherine Delahaye / Getty)

Discover your wellness age

Biological age vs chronological age

We all know how old we are, but did you know there's a biological age calculator we can use to get an idea of how old our body is.

“We’re used to measuring age chronologically, by counting years since birth, butscience tells us that every person ages differently. It depends on the genesthat we inheritedand our environment and lifestyle,” says Gordon Lauc PhD, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Zagreb and co-founder of GlycanAge, a home testing kit that determines the body’s biological age.

“There are always people who look younger orolder thantheir age. However, there’s more to ageing than the outsideappearance, such as chronic illnesses and inflammation,” explains Gordon. “Biological age is acomprehensivequantitative measure of the individual's inner ageing process, anda good approximation for overall health. But unlike chronological ageing,biological ageingcan be changed, improved, and even reversed to apoint.”

What affects our biological age?

Before you use the biological age calculator, consider this. "To help lower your biological age, and it can be lowered considerably, we have to improve all aspects of health and fitness,” says fitness expert Sean Lerwill. "This includes all facets of exercise, including a resistance programme that’s routinely changed every few months, cardiovascular training such as running to maintain a strong heart, and holistic training like stretching, yoga and mobility along with mediation and relaxation to lower stress.”

“Diet also plays a part, so an understanding of healthy and unhealthy foods is vital,” advises Sean. "Vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals from fresh vegetables as the main ingredient of meals, plenty of water (800-1000ml of water per kg of bodyweight is a good guide), a sensible amount of sleep (7-8hrs per night), and an avoidance of what isn’t good for us, including alcohol, caffeine and pharmaceutical and illicit drugs.”

“While some lifestyle factors drastically speed up ageing,such as increased abdominal fat and smoking, how much losing weight or quitting affectsbiological age depends on a combination of the person’s genes andenvironment,” says Gordon. “Many tested lifestyle factors that affect ageing appear tobe highly individual, which points to the need of developing a personalised approach (such as personalisedexercises)."

"Instead of asking 'what can I do to improve my biological age' ask ‘is what I’m doinggood for me?’ While we pursue further research studies to address this, my recommendation is to keep a diary of lifestyle changes and regularly re-measureyour biological age to track your progress.”

READ MORE: Easy ways to get fit

Try the biological age calculator

For a reflection of how your body is ageing, use this biological age calculatorto determine what you need to do to help improve your longevity. Start with your age then answer eight key questions, adding or subtracting years depending on your answers.

1. How's your weight?

  • I’m overweight and need to lose a stone or more (+2 years)
  • I’m a little overweight; I’d like to lose half a stone (+1 year)
  • I’m slim and in the right weight range for my height (-2 years)
  • I’m underweight (+1 year)

Why it matters

Excess weight is linked with a raised risk of age-related diseases, from type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure to arthritis. Getting to a healthy weight is one of the best things you can do to protect your health, but it can get harder to stay slim once you hit your forties.

“You lose muscle mass with age so your metabolic rate can slow,” says nutritionist Rob Hobson.“You need fewer calories than you did in your twenties and thirties.”

READ MORE: How to figure out your ideal weight

2. What's your activity level?

  • I do at least 150 minutes aerobic exercise each week, and some strength training (-2 years)
  • I don’t do much formal exercise but try to walk as much as I can and fit in a bit of yoga sometimes (no change)
  • I do little exercise (+2 years)

Why it matters

Exercise works the heart and lungs, helps control your weight, reduces stress and lifts your mood. The recommended 150 minutes of exercise a week is the minimum we should do, but 40% of those aged 40-60 do less than 10 minutes brisk walking each month.

READ MORE: This is how much exercise you should do per week

3. Which of these best describes your diet most days?

  • Balanced, mostly based around fruit and vegetables, with some oily fish, small amounts of meat and very little sugar (-2 years)
  • I try to eat well but sometimes reach for junk food when I’m stressed or busy (+1 year)
  • My diet’s not all it could be. I have a sweet tooth and live on convenience meals (+2 years)

Why it matters

“A balanced diet gives you all the nutrients you need for overall health,” says Rob. “Prepare your meals from scratch wherever possible – convenience foods are often high in sugar, which adds calories, contributing to weight gain, and salt, which is bad news for your blood pressure.”

4.Regardless of how much exercise you do, how much do you sit down daily?

  • I’m largely sedentary and sit for at least eight hours a day (+2 years)
  • I sit for a lot of the day but make an effort to get up and down every hour (no change)
  • I’m active. I don’t have a sedentary job (-2 years)

Why it matters

Research conducted by the University of California San Diego found women who were sedentary had shorter telomeres (the caps on the ends of DNA), while longer telomeres are associated with ageing better. In fact, sitting for ten hours or more could age you by up to eight years. It’s recommended adults should break up long periods of sitting with some light activity.

READ MORE: Workouts to do at home

5. Do you smoke?

  • No, I never have (-2 years)
  • No, but I used to (no change)
  • Yes (+2 years)

Why it matters

Smoking is linked with many forms of cancer, skin ageing, heart disease and osteoporosis. The good news is, quitting allows your body to start repairing the damage. See your GP for help or visit NHS Smokefree. Research shows your chances of stopping permanently are much higher if you have support.

6. How's your sleep?

  • I get seven or eight hours most nights and wake feeling refreshed (-2 years)
  • I get less than six hours (+2 years)
  • My sleep’s all over the place. I lie in at weekends but sleep less during the week (+2 years)

Why it matters

“During solid sleep, the body releases substances that play an important role in allowing your immune system to regenerate,” says Dr Jenna Macciochi, lecturer in immunology (biochemistry) at the University of Sussex. Research at the University of Rochester in the US found the brain scours toxins during sleep, lowering the risk of dementia.

7. Are you constantly under stress?

  • Yes, but I manage it with meditation, dance classes and chats with friends (no change)
  • No, although I have some short-term stress at work from time to time (-1 year)
  • Yes and I find it overwhelming and it affects my mood a lot (+2 years)

Why it matters

Short bursts of stress may be quite good for us, giving the immune system a quick boost, says Dr Macciochi. “But long-term stress raises markers of inflammation in the blood, which lowers immunity, and it encourages unhealthy habits,” she explains.

8. How much alcohol do you drink?

  • Less than 14 units (one unit = one small glass of wine) a week, with a few alcohol-free days (-1 year)
  • I drink every day and have more than 14 units a week (+2 years)

Why it matters

Even if you’re drinking slightly more than you should most days, you’re affecting your liver’s ability to regenerate, which is why booze-free days are so important. Bingeing raises your chance of having a stroke. If alcohol is a concern for you, visit drinkaware for advice.

Drink can also make you gain weight. “Any alcohol you drink contributes to fat storage – your body metabolises it first, leaving food calories to be stored as fat,” says Rob.

Now that you’ve completed thisbiological age calculator is your biological age younger, older, or the same as your chronological age? If it's younger, congratulations but still check it regularly. If it’s the same or older follow the guidelines to see if you can take some years off and feel healthier to boot.