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 still be mostly surrounded by players who are decades younger, but he’s not sweating it. Instead, he wants to use this opportunity to encourage older fans to take note and get moving themselves.
We caught up with him to see what he had to say about the game, who he’s excited to see, and how to get started with exercise — no matter what age you are.
DoctorOz.com: Earlier this year you participated in the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game – you were the second-oldest player on the court. What drives you to participate in sporting events like these?
Dr. Oz: A notable moment in my life was learning that the Tarahumara indigeonous 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.
Some people give up on exercise as they get older. If I told you I’m too old to get involved and stay active, how would you convince me otherwise?
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.
What kinds of sports/activities are easier to get into if you’re out of shape, older, or have no experience?
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. If the commitment is less than 10 minutes, you will be embarrassed to claim you don’t have time. As soon as you start a short workout, you are almost done, so just take the first step.
What about the MLB All-Star Softball game makes you most excited?
I love watching professional athletes showcase their remarkable talents, since it provides me motivation to keep up. MLB players are artists, with their bodies being their canvas.
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. I get lots of tips for our show advice from following the novel habits of professional athletes. 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.
If you could grab a green juice with any MLB All-Star Celebrity game participant, who would it be?
It’s a toss-up between Drew Carey, who will make me choke with laughter while trying to down the drink, and Jamie Foxx, who will make the social event a competition. I love how he cajoles and motivates his teammates every year and have always enjoyed his company.
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.
For more Dr. Oz wellness tips, recipes, and exclusive sneak peeks from The Dr. Oz Show, subscribe to the Dr. Oz newsletter.