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Exercise Your Way to Healthier Eyes

Who doesn't want increased energy, a toned, fit body and improved health? It's no secret that exercise is the best way to get in shape and avoid serious health conditions. But you may be surprised to learn 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. Regular exercise can help prevent eye conditions linked to obesity and being out of shape.

  • Glaucoma causes damage to the optic nerve. Simply walking 2 or 3 times a week can help lower pressure on the nerve in the eyes.

  • Diabetic Retinopathy can lead to blindness unless a regimen of the right diet and exercise is followed.

  • Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of vision loss. Lowering blood pressure through a good diet and exercise may help slow the progress of AMD.

Searching for a new fitness routine to get in shape? Fitness is about more than just exercising—it’s a lifestyle change that includes eating right, getting enough exercise, and taking care of your overall health. Today is your day to make that lifestyle change.

Start By Focusing On Your Plan To Get Fit Start simple and set realistic goals–and write them down! This will help you stick to your plan and track your progress. Find sources of motivation like quotes, photos, anything that will encourage you to stay on track and keep them close by.

Put Your Plan Into Action. Get plenty of exercise. Studies show that exercise decreases pressure in your eyes, both right after exercise and over longer periods of time in those who exercise regularly.

Keep it fun. Mix up your fitness routine with combinations of strength and cardio. If you don't feel motivated to get moving, try jump-starting your fitness routine by shaking it up a little. Head outside and roller skate, bike, or go on a hike—all are great calorie burners too. If you're short on ideas, check out websites for tons of fitness information.

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 every hour

  • taking the dog for a long walk or jog—try doing a few lunges on the trail

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. Then, think about how precious your eyesight is—you'll probably agree it's worth working out a few minutes each day to reap the rewards of good health and great vision!

Along with your new exercise routine, make it a routine to get an annual eye exam. Combining fitness with yearly checkups will increase your defense against serious health conditions.

This post originally appeared on VSP.

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