There have been numerous studies on how exercise benefits physical and mental health. In a new study, researchers have found that it can slow or prevent the development of macular degeneration (causes loss in the centre of the field of vision) or other common causes of vision loss such as glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy.
The study from the University of Virginia School (UVA) of Medicine found that exercise reduced the harmful overgrowth of blood vessels in the eyes of lab mice by up to 45 per cent, which is a key contributor to eye diseases.
“There has long been a question about whether maintaining a healthy lifestyle can delay or prevent the development of macular degeneration. The way that question has historically been answered has been by taking surveys of people, asking them what they are eating and how much exercise they are performing,” Bradley Gelfand, PhD, UVA’s Center for Advanced Vision Science, was quoted as saying by Science Daily.
An initial test comparing mice that voluntarily exercised versus those that did not found that exercise reduced the blood vessel overgrowth by 45 per cent. A second test, to confirm the findings, found a reduction of 32 per cent.
Gelfand noted that the onset of vision loss was often associated with a decrease in exercise. “It is fairly well known that as people’s eyes and vision deteriorate, their tendency to engage in physical activity also goes down. It can be a challenging thing to study in older people. How much of that is one causing the other?” the researcher said.
The scholar disclosed his secret motivation behind the research. “One reason I wanted to do this study was sort of selfish. I was hoping to find some reason not to exercise. It turned out exercise really is good for you.”