How Exercise Can Influence Macular Degeneration

How Exercise Can Influence Macular Degeneration

Posted under Eye Health

My husband’s father has wet age related macular degeneration (AMD) as did several of my father-in-law’s siblings. As most of you know macular degeneration runs in families. While we can’t change the genes we’ve inherited we can influence the expression of these genes through nutrition and lifestyle.

One area that seems to influence the development of macular degeneration is exercise.
Ophthalmologist and author of SuperHealth: 6 Simples, 6 Easy Weeks, 1 Longer, Healthier Life, Dr. Stephen Pratt writes, “The benefits of exercise have been proven to go far beyond controlling your weight – from boosting your immune system to preventing and/or slowing the progression of diseases like cancer, degenerative eye disease, and dementia.”

You probably don’t need a study to tell you that exercise is good for you, but in case you’d like to know more specifically how physical activity can decrease your chances of developing AMD, let’s look at this study done in Wisconsin.

The Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, did a study called Healthy Lifestyles Related to Subsequent Prevalence of Age-Related Macular Degeneration. The study looked at the relationship between diet, smoking and physical activity as it related to the prevalence of age related macular degeneration. One of the conclusions from this study is, “Women in the highest quintile compared with those in the lowest quintile for physical activity (in metabolic energy task hours per week) had 54% lower odds for early AMD.”

Another study called the Beaver Dam Study also looked at the relationship between exercise and AMD. 3874 men and women between the ages of 43-86 years in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, were recruited for this study between the years of 1988-1990. Every 5 years for 15 years these patients were evaluated. The study concluded that, “Increased walking of more than 12 blocks daily decreased the incidence of exudative AMD by 30% over 15 years.”

Did you notice that the study participants physical activity involved walking? Walking can be done almost anywhere and without much expense. Make it a social time by finding a friend, family member or neighbor to walk with you. Download an audiobook, podcast or favorite music to listen to while you walk. I have been listening to the audiobook, Steve Jobbs by Walter Isaacson when I walk. The only time I allowed myself to listen to the book was when I was walking. Eager to finish a chapter or to get to the next chapter, I found myself excited about walking, often walking longer than I would have without the audiobook.

For more tips on macular degeneration prevention go to:

Macular Degeneration Prevention

Leslie Degner, RN, BSN
Better Health for Better Vision