When some people hear the word ‘exercise’ they cringe, probably because some view it as a chore that is as awful as scrubbing a toilet, and others have that reaction because they know that it’s something they need to do but they don’t for one reason or another and they feel guilty about it.
The fact is that exercise is a must for maintaining a healthy heart and body, but that’s common knowledge. What most people probably don’t know is that it’s even important for keeping your eyes and vision healthy. That’s right. You can decrease your risk of eye diseases and improve the health of your eyes and your vision by doing a little bit of exercise a few times a week.
How Exercise and Your Eyes Relate
Cardiovascular exercises such as aerobics will lower intraocular pressure, which is pressure in your eyes, and that helps to keep the retinal ganglion cells protected. Cardio exercise also increases the flow of blood to the optic nerve and the retina. Because of these effects, overall eye health and vision can be improved, but it’s especially beneficial to people with glaucoma.
Glaucoma affects the optic nerves in the eyes and causes them to not function properly. The optic nerve is what transmits visual images to the brain and when the nerve becomes damaged it can cause a variety of vision problems such as peripheral vision loss on the milder end of the spectrum to blindness on the severe end. The optic nerve can become damaged in a number of ways such as lack of blood flow, deteriorating effects of diabetes, arteriosclerosis, and many others.
To take advantage of the benefits that cardio workouts have on your vision and eyes, you don’t even need to dedicate large chunks of time to exercising. Taking a simple brisk 20-minute walk in the park four times a week will increase your pulse by as much as 25 percent. That’s not so bad when you think about it. Twenty minutes is nothing in the grand scheme of things and it’s completely worth it if it means you will have stronger, healthier eyesight for years to come.
If walking isn’t your thing, you could do something else that gets your blood pumping, such as bike riding, swimming, running, dancing, jogging up and down a flight of stairs, and so many other things. No matter what the activity is that you choose to do, you will not only be benefitting your eyes and vision, but you’ll be strengthening your heart health, too.
Other Ways to Keep Your Eyes Healthy
It’s no secret that eating right is one of the best things you can do for your body health, but a lesser known fact is that it’s also one of the best things you can do for your eye health.
While I’m sure you’ve heard that some certain vitamins or foods are beneficial to your eyes and vision, what you may not realize is that the nutrients and vitamins in certain types of food can really be the difference between losing your vision from an eye disease and having healthy eyes and clear vision your whole life.
If you make sure to eat a good variety of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and fish, you’ll be well on your way to keeping your eyes healthy. However, you could also take a supplement that will ensure you get the amount of each of the vitamins and nutrients that are necessary in your daily diet, which can be hard to do with food because even if you eat your healthiest, chances are you are not eating the recommended amount of nutrients each day.
There are 17 vitamins, nutrients, and herbs that are most beneficial to your eyes and your vision, but they are also beneficial for your heart, your bones, and your overall health. Taking a daily supplement will make your life so much easier.
It will also save you from trying to fill yourself with the large portions of food that are needed to meet the recommended daily guidelines and will make you feel less guilty if there’s a day when you miss a meal or don’t eat as healthy as you should.
In addition, cutting out saturated fats and sugars from your diet, as well as quitting smoking, will contribute to improving your eyes and vision health. You should also always be careful to protect your eyes from the sun when you’re outside, even on cloudy days. The eyes and vision are usually overlooked when most people consider things they can do to improve their health, but they’re just as important to keep healthy as it is for your heart.
This post originally appeared on Rebuild Your Vision.