Eating well, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly are how we stay in shape, feel healthier, and get stronger. We can reduce our risk of developing chronic health problems like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart conditions, but some of the lesser-known benefits of a healthy lifestyle are the ways it impacts our lifelong eye health.
First, let’s look at what can happen to our eyes if we don’t make an effort to stay active. It actually makes us more susceptible to vision loss as we get older. Those chronic health problems we mentioned before can take a serious toll on our eyes. Type 2 diabetes in particular is one of the biggest risk factors for cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema, and glaucoma.
Additionally, without the right nutrients from eating a healthy diet or getting enough rest to recharge, our eyes (along with the rest of our immune system) won’t have the best tools to defend against infection.
Staying active is good for our eye health and significantly lowers our risk of sight-threatening conditions, so how do we stay active? Simply by exercising three times a week, we can lower the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration by as much as 75%, while simultaneously reducing the risk of glaucoma by 25%. We should also make sure to incorporate plenty of vegetables (not just carrots) into our meals.
There are endless places to go to online for advice on exercise, but the most important advice we can give is this: the best workout is the workout you do. Don’t worry so much about whether or not you’re doing the most effective routines; prioritize regular physical activity first. What kind of exercise are you most likely to do regularly?
For some people, it’s a traditional gym workout. Others prefer to swim or to go for walks or jogs around their neighborhoods. You might prefer the social element of joining a local sports club, a martial arts studio, or ballroom dance. You could also take up yoga, pilates, or rock climbing. There’s something for everyone. Whichever activities are most enjoyable for you are the ones you’re most likely to keep doing. The same goes for eating healthy. Find the healthy foods you enjoy eating!
While diet and exercise can go a long way towards overall health, it’s still important to have regular checkups with the doctor — and the eye doctor! We want to make sure everything is staying healthy and keep those prescriptions up to date. For many sight-threatening diseases, early detection is also the best tool we have to fight back.