Dr. Oz will be joining the MLB All-Star Celebrity Softball Game during All-Star Weekend in his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. A few months ago, in February 2019, Dr. Oz participated in the NBA All-Star Celebrity game, where he was one of the oldest players. This time, he’ll be the oldest player by more than a decade. But he’s not sweating it; instead, he wants to use this opportunity to encourage older fans to take note and get moving.
Dr. Oz tells us how to get started with exercise — no matter what age you are.
Dr. Oz: A notable moment in my life was learning that the Tarahumara indigenous people in Mexico are able to run dozens of miles daily, even into their 80s. Every member of the tribe – including the older men and women – had to help or the tribe would starve. We all have the capacity to be physically active throughout our lives, but we let our belief system get in the way. Minor injuries knock us off our game.
Let’s use data to change your mind by reviewing the average finishing times for the New York Marathon. The fittest members are men around age 30. They take 4 hours and 18 minutes to run the 26 miles. Men in their 50s take only five minutes longer. Women are very similar and stay fit without losing much endurance. Our marathon finishing times are respectable, decades longer than we expect.
Why is it important to stay active as you age?
One of the most important predictors of longevity is our ability to stay active. When we stop moving, our mortality starts to shoot up at alarming rates. Revving the engine of our body allows us to identify problems earlier and stay fit enough to overcome health challenges if they occur.
As we age, our muscles begin to shrink – a condition known as sarcopenia. This puts people at higher risk of falls and is also associated with increased insulin resistance. Exercise can help strengthen muscles and prevent sarcopenia. Activities that especially require balance can help prevent falls, which are the number one cause of injury-related deaths among older adults.
The Million Women Study (based on a million UK women’s habits) showed that even 10 minutes of daily activity dramatically reduced mortality. The chance of having a heart disease was reduced by 20 percent from just 2-3 episodes of elevating our heart rates. So start small with 1-2 minutes of squats or yoga during commercial breaks of your favorite shows. Or walk around the block at a brisk pace twice a week.
We may take our daily dietary, sleep or stress habits for granted, but these professionals identify the nuances leading to success and are always on the cutting edge of what all humans should be doing. Most recently, I learned the power of intermittent fasting for weight loss by studying how athletes use these techniques successfully. If professional athletes believe that multivitamins supplementation improves their performance, I am incentivized to try the approach for myself.
Any parting words for a still-skeptical reader?
Even 10-minutes of exercise a day can make a difference, so as you tune into ESPN to watch the game, celebrate your favorite players by taking your own victory lap around your neighborhood. Even a brisk walk will get your heart pumping and put you on track for a healthier lifestyle.