A new study reports that taking a walk, or participating in any exercise, can reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) by up to 70%. AMD is a degenerative eye disease in which the light-sensitive cells in the back of the eye stop working. It is the leading cause of severe vision loss in people over age 60.
Researchers followed nearly 4,000 men and women in Beaver Dam, Wis., between the ages of 43 and 86 for 15 years. The participants gave information about their lifestyle and exercise habits and had eye examinations every five years.
The study shows that older adults who had an active lifestyle and exercised three or more times a week had a 70% lower risk of developing wet AMD.There are two types of AMD, wet and dry.
The study found that even low-impact workouts were beneficial. The most likely reason is that exercise maintains blood vessels and eyes need that vascular support.
The risk of age-related macular degeneration was 30% lower among people who walked more than 12 blocks regularly. A general rule of thumb is that blocks range from 1/5 of a mile to 1/20 of a mile.