It’s no secret that exercise is the best way to get in shape and to prevent serious health conditions. But did you know that you can actually exercise your way to healthy eyes too!?
Like your heart, brain, and lungs, your eyes are impacted by how you care for your body. By eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly, you can help prevent eye conditions linked to obesity and being out of shape.
Studies have found connections between regular exercise and reducing risks for several common eye ailments such as cataracts, age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma. Vision problems and eye disease also stem from high blood pressure and high cholesterol. A healthy diet and regular exercise are two of the most important steps you can take to lower both.
What you should know about the common eye diseases and exercise
Cataracts – Studies have found that a lack of physical activity may be associated with an increased risk of getting cataracts. Whether it’s a brisk walk around your block or a run through the park, both activities may be associated with decreased risk of age-related cataract.
Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD)– Studies found that that those who were active and exercised three or more times a week were less likely to develop AMD.
Glaucoma – Doctors treat glaucoma by lowering high intraocular (eye) pressure. Research that focused on young adults found that moderate intensity, low-impact exercise led to significant reduction in eye pressure. Regular, ongoing exercise, such as walking or jogging, will help reduce eye pressure.
How to kick off your exercise routine
- Start simple and set realistic goals. Keep a log of your goals and daily exercise routine, this will help you stick to your plan and track your progress.
- Keep it fun.
- Mix up your fitness routine with combinations of strength and cardio.
- Not feeling all that motivated? Try jump-starting your fitness routine with a little Zumba or ballroom dancing; these are super fun ways to get in shape.
- Head outside and roller skate, bike, or go on a hike—all are great calorie burners too.
- If it’s too cold to go outdoors, pick up the latest yoga fitness DVD and create a calming atmosphere in your living room. Or you could try a circuit training fitness DVD for a more upbeat cardio workout.
- Don’t get stuck in a rut: change up your routine frequently to get the biggest bang out of your exercise time!
No time for exercise? You can squeeze it in between everyday tasks such as:
- Taking the stairs at work instead of the elevator.
- Walking to your co-worker’s desk instead of sending an e-mail.
- Doing lunges or squats while brushing your teeth.
- Contracting and holding your abs while working on your computer – try for 10 contractions every hour.
- Taking the dog for a long walk or jog—try doing a few lunges on the trail.
How to exercise your eyes
Here are a few different types of eye exercises that you can try, depending on your needs.
This exercise works by challenging your focus. It should be done from a seated position.
- Hold your pointer finger a few inches away from your eye.
- Focus on your finger.
- Slowly move your finger away from your face, holding your focus.
- Look away for a moment, into the distance.
- Focus on your outstretched finger and slowly bring it back toward your eye.
- Look away and focus on something in the distance.
- Repeat three times.
Near and far focus
This is another focus exercise. As with the previous one, it should be done from a seated position.
- Hold your thumb about 10 inches from your face and focus on it for 15 seconds.
- Find an object roughly 10 to 20 feet away, and focus on it for 15 seconds.
- Return your focus to your thumb.
- Repeat five times.
This exercise should be done from a seated position as well.
- Pick a point on the floor about 10 feet in front of you and focus on it.
- Trace an imaginary figure eight with your eyes.
- Keep tracing for 30 seconds, then switch directions.
Eye strain is a real problem for a lot of people. Human eyes are not supposed to be glued to a single object for extended periods of time. If you work at a computer all day, the 20-20-20 rule may help prevent digital eye strain. To implement this rule, every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
Stay active, get plenty of exercise and keep a healthy diet. When you’re tempted to slack off, or quit exercising all together, just remember how terrific you’ll look and feel when you keep moving. You’ll probably agree it’s worth working out a few minutes each day to reap the rewards of good health and great vision!
- Get Fit for Your Vision Eyefdn June 5, 2018
- Eye Exercises: How-to, Efficacy, Eye Health, and More
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At Golden Eye Optometry, we view good vision care as front line protection at every age. A routine eye exam can detect more than poor vision. It can shed early light on glaucoma, macular degeneration, cataracts and diabetes.