LIFESTYLE

4 Simple Tests To Find Out How Well You're Ageing

20/08/2015 10:28 BST | Updated 20/08/2015 10:59 BST
Lucia Lambriex via Getty Images
Three elderly women holding one another and laughing out loud, outdoors in a green environment on an overcast day.

We often get caught up worrying about what ageing will do to our looks -- from wrinkles in our skin to gray in our hair. But true ageing is more than skin deep. What's more important than maintaining a youthful appearance is staying fit and independent. 

So put down the magnifying mirror, and try these tests do determine how well, or how poorly, you're really ageing.

1. The Simple Balance Test

This test is recommended to assess your risk for falls as you get older. 

What to do:

Stand up straight with your arms crossed. Lift up either leg, starting a timer as you do so, and hold that leg up -- with your knee bent -- for as long as you can without touching the other leg or uncrossing your arms. Don't use a support. Stop the timer when the raised leg touches the floor or the other leg, or if you uncross your arms or move your arms out of position.

The average person in their 60s, 70s and 80s should be able to hold this position for around  27 seconds, 17.2 seconds and 8.5 seconds, respectively, according to the Community and Health Foundation of Western and Central New York.

2. The Timed Up-And-Go Test

This test is frequently used to assess your mobility and risk of falls. 

What to do:

Be seated in a chair. Start the timer as you start to stand up. As soon as you're up on your feet, walk 10 feet forward, turn around and return to your seat, stopping the timer as soon as you are seated. 

A healthy adult without mobility issues should be able to do this in under 10 seconds, according to Minnesota Falls Prevention.

3. Simple Walking Test

This test helps measure physical function, detect mobility impairments and even mortality. 

What to do:

You'll need a six-meter walking space -- that's around 20 feet. You'll be walking from one end to the other, at a comfortable pace. You should mark off the middle four meters (about 13.1 feet) off with masking tape or cones, leaving one meter on each end for your start and finish line. Your walking speed should be measured between these markers, over a total of four meters. (This gives you one meter to speed up and slow down to and from your usual pace). Do a practice run and then a timed run up to two more times. 

An average person in their 50s should be walking at a pace of approximately 1.14 meters per second and at 1.10 meters per second if you're in your 60s. To get a better idea of how to do this test, go here.

4. Grip Test

A degree of muscle loss with age is normal; this test helps measure strength.

What to do:

You'll need a dynamometer. Sitting in a chair with your feet firmly on the ground, you'll squeeze the tool as hard as you can, for three seconds. The tool will measure how many pounds of force you squeezed with. You can do a practice run.

An average female in her 50s can manage about 61 pounds of force while the average male has around 97.5 pounds. For women and men in their 60s, the average is 53.3 and 89 pounds, respectively.