The Surprising Way A Daily Walk Can Affect Your Eyesight

For those of us who would rather avoid hard workouts at the gym, or actually running, there's some good news. Going for a walk actually does count as "moderate exercise," per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And while we all know that getting regular exercise is vital for weight management and overall health, the CDC adds that it can actually help your eyesight, too.

But there's a catch: To get the many benefits experts associate with exercise, you have to do enough of it. And for walking, according to WebMD, that means walking briskly (not casually strolling) at least 30 minutes at a time, four days a week. Exercise scientist Andrea Dunn notes, "When we say brisk, we mean brisk. We're talking about walking fast enough to cover at least three and a half miles an hour. A brisk walk is the way you'd walk if you were hurrying to catch a bus or to get in from the cold. It's walking fast enough so that you begin to feel winded." Walking is good, but just going to the coffee maker and back isn't enough.

Walking can help prevent some eye diseases

Walking can help prevent the most common age-related source of vision loss — age-related macular degeneration (AMD) — by an impressive 70%, and it can reduce your risk of developing glaucoma by 25% (per Vision Source). And for those who already suffer from an eye disease, like retinopathy caused by diabetes, regular exercise can help manage it by lowering fluid pressure in the eye, and increasing blood flow to the retina and optic nerve through better circulation (via American Academy of Ophthalmology).

For those who do their walking outdoors, the benefits are even greater. According to WebMD, exercising outside can reduce anxiety, help you sleep better, and even increase vitamin D production through exposure to sunlight. 

Along with regular eye exams and an eye-healthy diet rich in vitamins A, E, and C (per Healthline), getting enough exercise is a key part of maintaining eye health for a lifetime.