Taking the healthy aging quiz

Jun 4, 2021 2:46:31 PM

Written By:
Ramneek S. Bhogal, DC, DABCI


The fundamental questions of why and how we age are central to living the healthiest life possible. It makes sense that humans want to understand how we can age with grace, stay healthy, and truly enjoy life with vigor and vitality.

To respond to this widespread desire to answer these questions, we’ve developed a healthy aging quiz that might reveal some valuable insights into how well you are aging.

There are two measures of age: chronological and biological age. Your chronological age is simply a point of reference measured in years (how many years you’ve lived), while your biological age takes a much more holistic and qualitative approach to age. The idea of a biological age truly blows many of the normative perceptions of age out of the water. It forces us to look beneath the hood and consider your intricate combination of lifestyle, diet, genetics, epigenetics, underlying health issues, and more.

For example, your chronological age could be 50 with a biological age of 60, and this might not bode well for maximizing your remaining years of good health. While this may seem unnerving, the good news is that the field of aging and epigenetics is working hard to gain invaluable insight into the “how” behind these mysteries.

Chronological Age

The number of years you’ve lived is how we define chronological age, and this metric plays a significant role in the aging process. However, it’s best to use chronological age as a reference point for biostatistical norms, instead of as the be-all-end-all of aging.

Chronological age creates a normative aging paradigm that assumes continuous ailments and degeneration are a natural part of the aging process, especially at certain ages. It doesn’t take into account the many ways in which you can impact the rate and manner in which you age, along with other important markers of aging.

Learn how healthy mitochondria help us age better in our guide.

Biological Age: Are You Healthy For Your Age?

Also referred to as your functional or physiological age, biological age considers chronological age, individual lifestyle, nutrition, social habits, underlying health issues, genetics, and epigenetics. It offers more methods of measuring age, such as DNA methylation and telomere length, as biomarkers.[1]

Underlying health problems play a role in biological age, along with your genetic foundation, pre-existing genetics, and epigenetic effects. To recap: genetics is the study of heredity and the variation of inherited characteristics, while epigenetics means “above” or “on top of” genetics, which is a helpful way to understand this extraordinary field. Epigenetics is the study of changes in organisms caused by modification of gene expression rather than alteration of the genetic code itself. In other words, epigenetics is concerned with external influences and changes to DNA that either turn genes “on” or “off.”

DNA methylation is another mechanism studied in the aging process. It helps your genes turn “on” and “off” in response to environmental, dietary, and lifestyle signals that allow methylation to function properly. If our DNA is worn down by these factors, it can decrease genetic fortitude and make you less resistant to aging.

Telomeres as a biomarker of aging is a somewhat new and interesting indicator that seems to have a seat at the table in the conversation of how we age. Telomeres are the end cap of the body’s chromosomes, and wear and tear from lifestyle factors can cause increased replication and shortening of telomere length. While more research is needed, a connection seems likely between telomere length and healthy aging. 

The following quiz looks at the controllable factors of your biological age versus your chronological age.

Self-Guided Healthy Aging Quiz

Use this self-guided, non-clinical assessment to get a snapshot of how you’re aging. In section 2, questions need to be approached by comparing yourself now to your “peak self,” instead of to other people. For example, some people are inherently more prone to anxious thoughts than others. So when you consider your level of stress and anxiousness now, compare it to when you were at a time of relative calm in your own life.

Section 1: Lifestyle

  1. Do you drink more than 4-5 alcoholic beverages each week?
  2. Do you often have trouble sleeping?
  3. Do you average less than 6-7 hours of sleep per night?
  4. Do you eat processed and packaged foods often?
  5. Do you currently eat fruits and vegetables with most meals?
  6. Do you feel like you have a high level of stress on most days?
  7. Do you exercise at least 150 minutes per week (22 minutes per day)?
  8. Are you sedentary most of the time between work and home?
  9. Do you smoke cigarettes? 
  10. Do you drink soda or other sugar-sweetened drinks?
  11. Do you opt for natural home-care products (cleaning, etc)?
  12. Do you opt for natural personal hygiene products (makeup, soap, shampoo, etc)?
  13. Do you drink at least half of your body weight (in pounds) in ounces of water per day?

Tally your total number of ‘yes’ answers.

Section 2: Healthy Aging

Give a 1 to 10 rating compared to how you’ve felt in the past:

1 or 2 = never or very rarely

3 or 4 = not often or a little

5 or 6 = sometimes

7 or 8 = often or quite frequently

9 or 10 = usually or always

  1. Do you have chronic digestive/gut discomforts like gas, bloating, or others?
  2. Do you carry extra weight around your mid-section?
  3. Do you have underlying health issues and/or chronic discomforts?
  4. Do you know of any underlying hormonal issues?
  5. Do you frequently feel overly tired?
  6. Do you think your memory has gotten worse over time?
  7. Do you frequently experience headaches?
  8. Do you have emotional support from family, friends, or community?
  9. Do you feel happy in your life?
  10. Do you practice meditation or other relaxation techniques regularly?

Tally up the sum of your points for all answers (minimum of 10 and maximum of 100)

If you answered ‘yes’ to six or fewer questions in section one, you likely aren’t making choices that are accelerating aging! If you answered four or fewer, you are likely making choices that are supporting the healthiest aging process possible, and deserve a big congratulations! If you answered ‘yes’ to more than six, don’t miss the next section on actionable steps for healthy aging.

If you scored a 60 in section two, your aging process is likely within normal parameters. If you scored well over 60, you might consider checking in with your integrative doctor to determine the best action steps to support the healthiest aging process possible. 

This non-clinical assessment is not a test, nor is it meant to be used as any type of clinical examination of healthy aging. It is simply a way to gain perspective on your lifestyle and other factors that impact aging, and increase self-awareness. 

related content: how to test your biological age

Now What? Tips for Healthy Aging

The good news is that you have a lot of control over your aging process—it’s nothing to fear. The following action items can make a big difference:

  • Exercise at moderate intensity for at least 150 minutes per week, such as brisk walking, jogging, swimming, or biking.
  • Include strength training in your exercise routine, such as weight training, yoga, pilates, bodyweight resistance exercises, or anything else you enjoy.
  • Eat organic produce whenever possible.
  • Opt for wild fish, grass-fed, pasture-raised, and organic meats whenever possible.
  • Avoid non-organic personal care and home cleaning products, and instead, choose natural brands to decrease your toxic exposure. 
  • Eat lots of brightly colored vegetables and fruits, as these are high in antioxidants.
  • Decrease processed and packaged foods in your diet.
  • Address any digestive or gut health problems with an integrative doctor.
  • Drink water consistently throughout the day.
  • Seek out social support from family, friends, spiritual or religious communities, local groups, or mental health professional.
  • Choose stress-management and relaxation techniques that you can implement every day.

Final Thoughts

Aging has taken on a negative connotation—but in reality, we should embrace this natural process and learn to support it with a holistic approach. Chronological age offers one important indicator of age, but biological age offers an even more comprehensive perspective. Use this quiz and healthy aging tips to empower yourself as you continue through the aging process.

By Ramneek S. Bhogal, DC, DABCI

Aging Protocol

[1] Jylhävä, J., Pedersen, N. L., & Hägg, S. (2017). Biological Age Predictors. EBioMedicine, 21, 29–36. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ebiom.2017.03.046

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.