Many of us believe that aging is a natural progression and that there is little that can be done about its degenerative effects. Science is disputing this and showing that if there ever was a fountain of youth it exists in our feet, as long as we move them anyway. A new study out of Emory University added its results among the volumes of studies that point toward the age slowing properties of exercise.

Machelle Pardue, Eric Lawson and Jeffrey Boatright PhD’s at the Atlanta VA Center for Visual and Neurocognitive Rehabilitation experimented with the effect of exercise on the vision of mice and made some astounding discoveries.

Their research found that simple exercise, in this case mice on a treadmill (beginning to see a pattern in our reports?), assisted in the preservation of photoreceptors and retinal cell function in the mice proving a direct positive effect on their vision and overall retinal health.



Vision Dependent Upon Movement

The mice trained for an hour per day throughout their “work week” for a total period of two weeks. They were then exposed to what is termed “toxic bright light”, commonly used to instigate retinal degeneration in experiments. One group was then given two more weeks of the exercise regimen. The exercise advantaged mice had twice as many of the photoreceptor cells as their unexercised counterparts at the end of the experiment. 

The more active group of mice also exhibited higher levels of BDNF (Brain Derived Neurotropic Factor) an important health and growth promoting protein along with a greater responsiveness to light.

According to the researchers, individuals at risk for macular degeneration or illustrating early signs of the disease may mitigate the negative effects with through moderate exercise such as walking.


In case you are in the “that is mice but what about people camp” this study coincides well with findings previously reported in the TrekDesk Research section regarding a University of Wisconsin study of 1,300 Women’s Health Initiative participants. The Wisconsin study found a 54% lower risk of macular degeneration in women that were active and a 71% decreased risk if they were active and ate a well balanced, healthy diet.

Still not convinced? Exercise was also shown to reduce the risk of age related macular degeneration (ARMD) by 70% in a study published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology.

The message is clear but it is growing more crystalline by the day: The body craves movement for optimal health.


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