We all know that exercise is good for you. From
keeping off the extra pounds, to improving heart health, and even boosting your
mood — staying active can improve nearly every aspect of your health. And, as
it turns out, that includes your eyes and vision.
Several important studies over the past decade
have provided concrete evidence for the notion that exercise is a powerful tool
for preventing and managing serious eye conditions. And that’s great news,
especially because blindness and vision impairment are on the rise,
due in large part to these three conditions:
Glaucoma is the medical name for damage to the
optic nerve. This is usually caused by high pressure in the eyes, and can be
particularly devastating because once the nerves connecting your retina to your
brain have been damaged, the eyesight lost cannot be regained. Fortunately, if
the warning signs of glaucoma are detected on
time, medicine and regular treatment can help control its effect. Healthy
changes in lifestyle can also have a big impact. Studies have shown that people
who exercise on a regular basis are significantly less likely to develop
glaucoma than those who don’t, for example. Because high blood pressure is a
big risk factor for glaucoma, eating healthier and reducing stress can also
This condition results in cloudy vision — and
can be caused by a number of factors, from injury, to illness, to simple old
age. Because obesity, hypertension, and uncontrolled diabetes are all risk
factors, though, exercise can help limit your risk for developing cataracts.
Also, some scientists think that exercise helps prevent cataracts by increasing
good cholesterol, as well. One thing is for certain: there is a strong correlation between exercising more and
enjoying a reduced risk for cataracts.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration, or AMD as it is
oftentimes called, is the leading cause of vision impairment and blindness,
affecting more people than cataracts and glaucoma put together. As the name
implies, AMD is strongly correlated with age — however, as with other the
conditions listed above, general good health can greatly reduce your risk. This
is related in part to the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the eyes, which is
improved with exercise.
Getting Started on Your Exercise
Remember: even if you are not currently suffering
from any of the conditions above, regular exercise can still help! It’s very
easy to fall into the “it could never happen to me” mindset, but the truth is
that prevention is always better than the cure. Moreover, small improvements in
your lifestyle can impact virtually every aspect of your health, including eye health.
So what are you waiting for? Find a workout buddy, make a plan, and get started
on a new, healthier lifestyle today!
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