ASK DRS. OZ & ROIZEN: Overcoming elderly weight gain

King Features SyndicateFebruary 1, 2014 

Q: I’ve always been active, and I don’t eat any more than I used to, but year after year (I’m 65 now) I gain a few pounds. Why does that happen?

ELSIE K., Fort Wayne, Ind.

A: Your metabolic rate may have slowed, in large part because you’re not expending as much physical energy as before. And your eating habits may have changed. Have you gotten tired of cooking, so you’re eating prepared foods or going out? You also may be insulin-resistant and not know it, which can make you vulnerable to an increased appetite and packing on a few pounds. Ask your doctor to check and see if any other health issues are affecting your weight.

A new study reveals that as we age, our brown fat — that’s the good kind — becomes less thermogenic, generating less heat, burning fewer calories and becoming less effective at helping to regulate insulin use and glucose uptake; all of that makes it harder to lose and easier to gain weight. Another result: an increase in stores of white fat around your belly and thighs.

The key is to increase aerobic exercise and, especially, strength training. Our suggestion: Sweat at least three times a week for 60 minutes: Try walking (every 10 minutes, kick in an intense pace for 2.5 minutes), swimming, cycling, jogging or playing tennis. Do strength/muscle building two to three times a week for 30 minutes with stretch bands and hand weights; or combine aerobics with muscle-building in a kickboxing or spin class.

Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com. Distributed by King Features Syndicate Inc.

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