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Exercise May Protect Against Age-Related Macular Decline

Regular physical activity may reduce eye degeneration by up to 70 percent

TUESDAY, Oct. 31 (HealthDay News) -- Regular physical exercise may protect against age-related macular degeneration (AMD), according to a study published online Oct. 31 in the British Journal of Ophthalmology.

Michael Knudtson, M.S., of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and colleagues analyzed data from a 15-year study of 3,874 men and women aged 43 to 86 years from Beaver Dam, Wisc., who underwent eye examinations every five years and also provided information on levels of physical activity and other lifestyle factors.

Those who exercised at least three times a week were 70 percent less likely to have developed exudative AMD at baseline compared with their more sedentary counterparts. Those who regularly walked a greater number of blocks per day were 30 percent less likely to develop the condition than those who did less walking. About 13 percent of subjects walked 12 or more blocks per day.

"AMD is strongly linked to aging, which is more relevant biologically rather than chronologically. Physically active people are likely to be biologically younger than sedentary people," the authors write. "This report provides evidence that a modifiable behavior, regular physical activity, such as walking, may have a protective effect for incident AMD," the authors write.

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