Exercise may not only save your figure, it may also save your vision!
- Exercising regularly is one of the modifiable risk factors associated with AMD. Physical activity has been shown to have broad benefits including boosting mood, controlling appetite, improving sleep, and reducing the risk of stroke, diabetes and heart disease.
- Exercise increases cardiovascular function, which improves blood circulation. Even in the retina, improved blood circulation has its effects: oxygen and nutrients are carried to the cells and waste materials (the source of drusen) are carried away.
- Research has found that exercise is comparable to smoking cessation or taking nutrients in its positive effects on eye health.
- In a fifteen-year population based study, exercise had a protective effect against wet AMD. Those who participated in an active lifestyle were 70% less likely to develop wet AMD.
- Seniors who have been diagnosed with AMD should check with their physician before taking on new exercise regimens, but there are numerous opportunities for beneficial physical activity in everyday life. Walking around the block for a half hour, at least three times a week, will meet this standard. Taking the stairs or working in the garden will avoid a sedentary lifestyle. If you find walking outdoors is difficult because of vision loss, you might take along walking stick or cane to help locate curbs and sidewalk dips. Swimming or water aerobics are other popular methods of staying active while avoiding stress to your bones and joints. Finally, team or individual athletic activities like golf, pickleball, tennis, dance and exercise classes provide social and physical rewards.