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  • Dr. Sunaina Sond

Does Exercise Really Help Your Eyes?

Updated: Oct 1


Coronavirus has caused a lot of changes, and for me, at first it was hard getting used to this new normal, as I’m sure was for a lot of us. But after I was able to develop a new routine, one that includes exercising 6-7 days a week, I am finding myself to have more energy both physically and mentally! It is very important to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle, not only to stay fit but also to prevent certain eye diseases like Cataracts, Glaucoma and Macular Degeneration.

Research suggests daily physical activity such as walking and biking have a reduced risk of developing cataracts whereas those that are mostly inactive have a higher risk of developing cataracts. One study suggests that might be because of the fact that exercising increases high-density lipoproteins (HDL), or good cholesterol in our body and that HDL has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties that helps prevent cataract formation. Moderate exercise has also been found to reduce pressure inside the eye, therefore lowering the risk of developing Glaucoma.

Many studies have been done to show that physical activity also has an influence in lowering the risk of developing both early macular degeneration and slowing progression of macular degeneration, a common condition in seniors in Southern Alberta, and the leading cause of vision loss in those over 50 in developed nations.

Everyone is different but here are a few things that really worked for me to help me get exercise into my daily routine, and make the lifestyle change.

1. Make a monetary commitment, aka join a program! I follow Kayla Itsines on Instagram, and time and time again would see the wonderful work she does, so after a month or so of contemplation (didn’t want to waste money) I decided to join. I would highly recommend this to any beginner.

2. Remind yourself that it is only a short part of your day that can make a huge difference. Above, I talk about only a few of the benefits to the eyes. We all know that exercise has many other health benefits. All it takes it 30 min a day to reap these rewards!

3. Be realistic and set goals. Without goals I find it hard to have direction. Unrealistic goals leave you feeling depressed because they are hard to achieve. Start with simple and easy to attain exercise goals and you will soon find yourself with a new, healthy lifestyle that you feel great about!

Overall, it is important to maintain an active lifestyle and a healthy diet to preserve not only good eye health but systemic health too. I’m so happy to share this with you, as exercise was never easy for me. I hope this helps inspire you to do the same and please share your story, as I would love to hear it in the comments below!

Resources:

1) https://yoursightmatters.com/exercise-can-help-prevent-cataractscid20130726ysmrm/

2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21423141

3) https://bjo.bmj.com/content/90/12/1461.abstract?sid=c857de1c-bdb5-48ad-a29d-f13db7159940

4) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28549846

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