by Gabriella Boston
“‘You look young for your age.’ Aside from being flattering, the sentence also highlights the fact that we can inhabit two ages at once: chronological age and biological age. Chronological age dictates the number of birthday candles we blow out every year, while biological age is a measure of our physiological state compared to other people with the same number of annual growth rings.
“‘It’s not all that helpful to talk about chronological age,’ says Laurie Archbald-Pannone, a physician who specializes in geriatrics at the University of Virginia Health System. ‘It doesn’t tell us how resilient the body is.’ To put it another way: Chronological age has very little to do with our actual physical well-being.
“For example, a 50-year-old smoker can have the lung capacity of an 80-year-old, says Todd Miller, associate professor in exercise and nutrition sciences at George Washington University. ‘In other words, the 50-year-old smoker has the lung age of an 80-year-old,’ Miller says.”