Aerobic Exercise Can Improve Your Vision

Aerobic Exercise for Neuroprotection

Many glaucoma patients ask their doctors, “What else can I do to help preserve my vision?” One answer may be to get off the couch—and get moving.  “Aerobic exercise is known to lower intraocular pressure (IOP), which we know protects retinal ganglion cells,” says Harry A. Quigley, MD, professor and director of glaucoma services at the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.  “And short-term studies show it may improve blood flow to the retina and optic nerve as well.”

What’s interesting to note is that in order to achieve a positive neuroprotective effect, you don’t have to exercise rigorously.  IOP can be lowered by exercise that raises the pulse just 20-25% —that could be a brisk walk — for 20 minutes, a minimum of four times a week.  “Exercise is free, so the price is right, and glaucoma patients should be encouraged to begin an aerobic program after getting consent from their internal medicine physician,” advises Dr. Quigley.

And of course, regular exercise brings a host of other benefits, including improving blood pressure, heart function, and making it easier to keep your weight down.  And what of the neuroprotective effects claimed by the manufacturers of some topical glaucoma medications? “There is no evidence that any topical glaucoma medicines can save nerve cells in humans,” says Dr. Quigley, after a review of the available literature on this topic. “Both patients and doctors need to be alert to false claims.”

There are 1,440 minutes in every day.  Schedule 30 of them for physical activity such as walkingtrikking or using an exercise bike or eliptical trainer!

Regular exercise is a critical part of staying healthy. People who are active live longer and feel better. Exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight. It can delay or prevent diabetes, some cancers and heart problems.

Most adults need at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity at least five days per week. Examples include walking briskly, mowing the lawn, dancing, swimming for recreation or bicycling. Stretching and weight training can also strengthen your body and improve your fitness level.

The key is to find the right exercise for you. If it is fun, you are more likely to stay motivated. You may want to walk with a friend, join a class or plan a group bike ride. If you’ve been inactive for awhile, use a sensible approach and start out slowly.

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About the author

Bradley Wilson is the Managing Director of the AOK Health Group, established in 1994. The AOK Group is comprised of 3 companies which specialise in the design, manufacture and distribution of health and rehabilitation products, education and services worldwide. Bradley has not just fostered good products but also good business, winning the awards including 2008 Exporter of the Year, 2003 Fastest Growing Hunter Wholesaler and in 2004 Trainer of the Year in Logistics. In 2004, 2006 & 2008 Bradley was elected as a Director of the Hunter Business Chamber by the 1000 member companies of that organisation. He is Senior Vice President, Chair of the Executive, Audit, Business Development and Education Committees. In 2005 fellow board members elected him as a Councillor of NSW Business Chamber (previously Australian Business Ltd) - one of Australia’s largest business lobby groups. Bradley was a Councillor for 3 years. Respected enough to work with other prominent industry professionals throughout the world, he has developed a business model that allows his customers the advantage of the world’s best product and technological information unchallenged by their competitors.

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