How fit can 90-year-olds be?


Ninety-year-olds can achieve remarkable levels of fitness with consistent and suitable exercise. A study discussed by Dr. Huberman highlights that elderly Swedish cross-country skiers in their 80s and 90s exhibited VO2 max levels—indicative of cardiovascular fitness—comparable to typical college-aged men. These 90-year-olds, with a VO2 max around 38, demonstrated a fitness capacity usually not seen in typical elderly populations. This impressive physical state is attributed to consistent cardiovascular exercises over many decades, like cross-country skiing, even if the amount of daily exercise was not extraordinarily high 1.

The key takeaway is the importance of sustained physical activity across the life span. Consistency in engaging in cardiovascular exercise, even moderate, can lead to substantial health benefits and a high level of fitness even into advanced age 2.

Fit 90-Year-Olds

Andy and Andrew discuss the impressive fitness levels of 80-90 year old Swedish cross country skiers, whose VO2 max levels were comparable to those of college-aged men. They also mention the importance of a low resting heart rate and regular exercise in maintaining fitness as we age.

Huberman Lab

Dr. Andy Galpin: How to Assess & Improve All Aspects of Your Fitness | Huberman Lab Guest Series