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How does physical activity benefit eye health?

Posted on January 20th, 2022

Physical activity is important for a plethora of reasons, not the least of which is that it helps to maintain optimal eye health.

We all know the importance of physical activity for our overall health and wellbeing, but did you know that regular exercise can actually help stave off eye disease?

Indeed, our eyes need exercise just as much as our bodies do. We’ve done extensive research on why physical activity is an essential preventative measure for maintaining optimal eye health, and we hope it gives you further motivation to move your body on a regular basis. 

Exercise and eye health 

A number of studies in recent years have found strong links between cardiovascular exercise and a reduced risk for several common eye conditions, including glaucoma and macular degeneration.  

The central finding is that cardiovascular exercises, such as running or aerobics, can lower intraocular pressure, which in turn protects your eyes. Workouts can also stimulate blood flow to the optic nerve and retina, serving to strengthen your vision and overall eye health. 

Not to mention, many of the common conditions and chronic diseases that stem from not living a healthy lifestyle can also lead to eye issues down the road. For example, Type 2 diabetes, which can be triggered from living a sedentary lifestyle, can also take a toll on your eyes and may lead to diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema, cataracts, and glaucoma. 

High blood pressure—which may be prevented with regular exercise—can also spur eye disease. So, by exercising often, you are not only lessening your risk of developing chronic diseases, but you are also protecting your eyes from the fallout of those illnesses. 

Best workouts for your eye health 

You’re probably wondering, “Do certain workouts benefit our eyes more than others?” Well, the good news is, when it comes to exercising for your eyes, there’s truly something for everyone.

Even if you’re not a self-proclaimed “gym rat,” simply making a concerted effort to walk on a regular basis can decrease your chances of developing eye diseases. Making time a few days per week for a brisk 30-minute walk can do wonders for your overall health, including your sight.

In fact, running or walking has shown to lower the risk of age-related cataracts, and low-impact exercises, such as yoga or swimming, can reduce eye pressure, particularly in young people with glaucoma. 

It’s also important to keep in mind that it’s not just about what exercises you do, but also how often you do them. Doctors recommend working out a minimum of three times per week—a frequency which could make you 70% less likely to develop wet macular degeneration, the primary cause of severe vision loss for people over the age of 60. Exercising at least three times per week could also make you 25% less likely to develop glaucoma, and simply walking can lower incidence by 30%.

Schedule regular eye exams 

Unfortunately, eye diseases are on the rise around the world, so it’s paramount that you do everything possible to protect and preserve your eyesight while warding off potential problems. 

Maintaining a rigorous exercise routine coupled with healthy eating habits are both instrumental ways to steer clear of eye disease. Still, getting regular eye exams is of the utmost importance when it comes to maintaining optimal eye health. Visit an FYidoctors clinic near you today to book your next appointment.