Regular exercise can reduce the likelihood of developing a degenerative eye disease by 70%, according to a new US research.
The study of 4,000 men and women aged between 43 and 86 years old looked at the effects of exercise on age related macular degeneration (ARMD) between 1988 and 1990.
Participants were given detailed eye examinations at five yearly intervals, asked about their lifestyle and amount of regular physical activity they took, including climbing flights of stairs, daily walks and sessions of formal exercise.
After taking account of weight, blood fat levels and age, those with an active lifestyle were 70% less likely to develop AMRD than those with sedentary lifestyle.
Other factors, including diet, may explain the findings but physical activity is known to reduce systematic inflammation and irregularities in cells lining the arteries, both of which are thought to have a role in the condition, the authors add.
British Journal of Ophthalmology (2006) DOI:10.1136/bjo.2006.103796