Q & A Library

Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Weight Control Worries?

At 62, I'm pretty active (play tennis, jog, work with a trainer once a week), but I'm still battling a tendency to gain weight. Any advice?

Answer (Published 11/1/2005)

We're all so obsessed with weight control these days that sometimes it's easy to lose sight of the realities of weight and health. Of greatest concern is morbid obesity - being more than 100 pounds over your "normal" or "ideal" weight. There's no doubt that being this heavy increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and osteoarthritis, all of which can lead to premature disability and death. But what about being just ordinarily overweight?

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging for Fitness - It's never too late to get fit! Promote a healthy weight, increase your energy, encourage better rest and feel great with a regular exercise program designed for your needs and capabilities. The Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging online plan has all you need - sign up today and get 14 days free!

I discuss the subject of weight in detail in my new book, Healthy Aging. The latest research suggests that excess weight is unhealthy when you're young but may not be when you're old. Also, if you're somewhat overweight in middle age, you may enjoy a healthier and longer old age than those who are too lean. If you're getting the amount of exercise you describe, you're probably fit. It's my belief that it is better to be fit and fat than lean and not fit. Instead of worrying that you're a few pounds over your ideal weight as defined by actuarial tables, concentrate on maintaining optimum health by eating right and keeping physically active.

Being ultra-lean like some athletes correlates with better cardiovascular health and a very low risk of type 2 diabetes but may actually raise risks associated with other illnesses. For example, those with very low body fat may be at higher risk of death from acute infectious diseases that can cause rapid weight loss - pneumonia and influenza, for example. Also, ultra-leanness correlates with increased risk of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) and other neurodegenerative diseases.

Tennis, jogging and working with a trainer add up to appropriate aerobic and strength training for someone of any age. I would suggest that you include flexibility and balance training, which are essential as we get older, because they reduce susceptibility to falls. Yoga is great for flexibility. Your trainer may recommend using balance boards or inflatable exercise boards to improve your balance. Or you could try tai chi, a safe and effective form of balance training that looks deceptively simple but requires regular practice.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle on (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being in just eight weeks! Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe Wellness Guide
Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Food Pyramid

Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you and their corresponding answers from Dr. Weil.

Copyright © 2015 Weil Lifestyle
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here