Vistar Insights

Is Running Good for Your Eyes, Too?

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Running has long been documented as a great way to keep your heart and lungs healthy. Now new research shows that it may even lower your risk for developing cataracts.

Recently, an article appeared in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise where study author Paul Williams, PhD reported reaching this conclusion based on an earlier, long-term National Runners Health study.

In 2009, Williams reported that male runners who increased their mileage were able to lower their cataract risk a significant amount. He then included female runners in the study, along with regular walkers of both sexes to broaden the spectrum.

The original data analysis remained intact. The study found that when over 32,000 runners and 14,000 walkers added increased activity to their routine, they lowered their chances of being diagnosed with cataracts at the study’s six-year follow up point. The risk reduction was the same in men and women.

Dr. Williams concluded that the more energy was expended, the lower the risk of developing cataracts. He reports that there are several mechanisms that might explain why active people had the lowest risk of developing cataracts in their lifetime. One hypothesis is that many lifestyle-related conditions, such as hypertension, Type 2 diabetes, or obesity have been linked with developing cataracts and highly active people are less likely to be diagnosed with those conditions.