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The AMD Lifestyle: Moderate Exercise

“What can I do to slow down the progression of AMD?”
Continued from The AMD Lifestyle: Good Nutrition.

Benefits of exercise

Even though most of the articles you’ll find about preventing AMD or reducing the risk of progression will include the word ‘exercise,’ it’s hard to find what that actually means. We know that for general good health which is a big part of the AMD Lifestyle, moderate exercise helps us lose weight, decrease BMI, reduce blood pressure, improve cardiac health including lowering of cholesterol, reduce risk of diabetes, control diabetes, prevent and manage depression and increase blood flow. That’s a LOT!

Exercise’s effect

It also can help those of us of ‘a certain age’ reduce falls. I also found something interesting in an article ’10 Benefits of Exercise’ regarding exercise and the skin that might relate to our eyes although there’s no recent research: “Even though intense and exhaustive physical activity can contribute to oxidative damage, regular moderate exercise can increase your body’s production of natural antioxidants, which help protect cells.”1,2 We know that antioxidants have been found to be important to our eye health.

Research about exercise and AMD

A 2017 systematic review and analysis was conducted of studies related to physical activity and AMD up to May 2017. The article, ‘Physical Activity and Age-related Macular Degeneration: A Systematic Literature Review and Meta-analysis’ concludes, “Physical activity is associated with lower odds of early and late AMD in white populations. These findings have important implications, reinforcing the public health message of staying active throughout life. However, further longitudinal studies are required to confirm and further characterize a protective effect of physical activity on the onset and/or progression of AMD.”3

Research about physical inactivity and AMD

An article from the AAO (American Academy of Ophthalmologists) says, “In another study, researchers looked at the medical history of more than 3,800 people to see if there was a relationship between developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and being physically inactive. The scientists found that people who exercised three times a week were less likely to develop AMD than people who didn’t exercise.”4

Exercise programs

Many of us of ‘a certain age’ in the US have Medicare insurance coverage. With that, we can get what is called an Advantage plan that extends the coverage and offers additional services.

SilverSneakers

One of those services you might have with a Medicare Advantage plan is called SilverSneakers. Their website says, “SilverSneakers is a fitness program for seniors that’s included with many Medicare Advantage plans. SilverSneakers helps millions of people on Medicare defy the odds, shatter stereotypes and answer every challenge with, ‘I can do this!’” According to the site, membership includes access to every participating gym and fitness center in the network (more than 16,000 locations). They also offer fitness classes for all abilities led by a SilverSneakers trained instructor at gyms and other locations.

Yoga, anyone?

There’s no lack of exercise videos on YouTube. I found one that I am going to try: ‘30 Days of Yoga.’ Exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous to be helpful

You can even do yoga in bed using the book ‘Bed Yoga: Easy, Healing, Yoga Moves You Can Do in Bed’ by Blythe Ayne, Ph.D. It not only covers stretching and yoga positions but meditation as well.

I have to have good vision to exercise, right?

No! The best example I can give you is from my ‘partner in crime’ Sue’s activities (see my bio, see hers). She has advanced dry AMD which is called geographic atrophy. That means she has a blind spot in the middle of the visual field of each eye. She regularly attends exercise classes including but not restricted to yoga and hip hop. She also skis, rafts, kayaks, walks her two dogs.

Audio exercise

You can also get FREE audio exercise files from BlindAlive’s website or Facebook page. Prior to 2019, you had to purchase these audio files, but they are now free. There are a variety of exercises for all fitness levels as well as audios for yoga and meditation.

So there’s no excuse, is there? ::smile::

Next: The AMD Lifestyle: Stress Reduction

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The MacularDegeneration.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

  1. Gomez-Cabrera M-C, Domenech E, Viña J. Moderate exercise is an antioxidant: Upregulation of antioxidant genes by training. Free Radical Biology and Medicine. 2008;44(2):126-131. doi:10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2007.02.001.
  2. Kruk J, Duchnik E. Oxidative Stress and Skin Diseases: Possible Role of Physical Activity. Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention. 2014;15(2):561-568. doi:10.7314/apjcp.2014.15.2.561.
  3. Mcguinness MB, Le J, Mitchell P, et al. Physical Activity and Age-related Macular Degeneration: A Systematic Literature Review and Meta-analysis. American Journal of Ophthalmology. 2017;180:29-38. doi:10.1016/j.ajo.2017.05.016.
  4. Exercise for Eyes and Vision. American Academy of Ophthalmology. https://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/exercise-eyes-vision-4. Published December 19, 2016.

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