There is no question that daily exercising can help you stay fit, build strength, and feel good. Staying physically active is vital for overall health, including reducing our risk of chronic health issues such as type-2 diabetes and high blood pressure. But did you know that exercise can especially benefit your eye health?
Research suggests that a deskbound lifestyle can leave an individual at a greater risk of vision loss with age as compared to someone with a more active lifestyle. This is due to the fact that a number of chronic diseases that affect our general health can take a toll on the quality of our vision. For instance, type-2 diabetes is a major risk factor for many sight-threatening health complications such as diabetic macular edema, diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, and glaucoma.
When we say that exercise is beneficial for your eyes, it doesn’t mean that you will not need glasses anymore if you work out. However, exercising regularly and eating healthy are two ideal ways of preventing the development of sight-threatening and chronic conditions.
What Does Research Have to Say About Exercise and Common Eye Diseases?
- Cataracts – Whether it is a brisk walk or a run through the park, a 2013 study concluded that both the activities may be linked with a decreased risk of developing age-related cataracts.
- Glaucoma – Doctors treat glaucoma by reducing high intraocular pressure. Studies focused on young adults found that low-impact; moderate exercise resulted in dramatic reduction in eye pressure.
- Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) – A research study of around 4000 senior adults over a span of 15 years concluded that subjects that exercised three or more times per week and were generally active were less likely to develop wet (exudative) AMD.
In addition to that, two studies have shown that those who exercise on a regular basis were less likely to develop severe eye diseases. In one research, researchers followed over 5,600 women and men to see if there was an association between ocular perfusion pressure and moderate exercise, a key factor in the development of glaucoma. People who exercised moderately were 25% less likely to develop glaucoma as compared to people who were mainly physically inactive.
In another study, scientists looked at the medical history of over 3,800 people to see if there was a link between AMD and being physically inactive. The researchers found that those who exercised were less likely to develop AMD as compared to those who didn’t.
If you don’t have the time to exercise, you can squeeze in the following tasks to stay somewhat physically active:
- Taking the stairs instead of the elevator
- Walk to your co-worker’s desk rather than sending a text or email
- Perform squats or lunges while brushing teeth
- Contracting and retaining that position while working on your computer – try for 10 per hour
- Taking the dog for a jog or long walk – squeeze in a few lunges or squats while on the trail