How Exercise is Good for Your Eyes

For years, we’ve heard that exercise will help us burn body fat. Cardiovascular exercise like riding a bike, elliptical, or dancing some jazzercise is revered for its heart-healthy benefits. While we know that hitting the gym or the yoga mat can strengthen our muscles and give us more stamina, we may overlook the value of exercise for eye health. As if you needed more reasons to move more, we’re going to offer a few by outlining the particular ways in which exercise is good for the eyes.


Some studies have suggested that regular exercise correlates with a lower risk of cataracts later in life. This doesn’t have to be strenuous exercise, either. Researchers found that a brisk walk or jog several days a week provided sufficient cardiovascular activity to decrease the chances of getting cataracts.


In another study, researchers discovered that activities like jogging and weight training provided support to reduce the risk of glaucoma. Again, exercise was in the low-impact, moderate-intensity range. In the study, researchers also found that intraocular pressure, the symptom of glaucoma, decreased during and after exercise, as long as the athlete does not hold their breath to conduct strenuous activities.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetes affects the blood vessels throughout the body, including the ocular vessels. Retinopathy is a common problem that develops secondary to diabetes. Therefore, experts suggest that exercise can reduce the risk of this condition by supporting healthy weight and insulin sensitivity. Exercise for diabetes management should also coincide with healthy eating habits that limit sugar and unhealthy fats.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration

A study on exercise revealed that aerobic activity like jogging or cycling is likely to increase the levels of growth factors in the body. One, in particular, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), may protect against retinal degeneration. A study of over 40,000 runners confirmed the benefits of exercise in minimizing AMD risks, concluding that runners to covered more miles had fewer instances of age-related macular degeneration than those who ran fewer miles.

We often don’t get the memo about the importance of eye health until we have begun to experience changes in our eyesight. The earlier that preventive measures are taken, like routine exercise, the better our vision can be as we age.

Is it time for your eyes to undergo a thorough examination? Schedule a visit at our Chester, NJ office at 908.879.7297.

Posted in: Eye Care, Eye Conditions

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