Can Exercise Improve Your Vision?

Posted on February 14, 2017

Photo: flickr

The mental and physical benefits of exercise goes on and on. Exercising boosts cognitive functioning and releases chemicals in the body related to pleasure. In addition, a study from the University of California Santa Barbara finds that engaging in exercise can even improve your eye sight! As another recent study discovered that mouse's and fly's brain areas associated with visual processing increase in times of physical activity, Barry Giesbrecht and Tom Bullock, psychologists from UC Santa Barbara, published a study in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience to see if the same thing happens with people.

An experiment was set up that recorded neural activity during exercise. Results indicate that during physical activity the visual cortex, a part of the brain that processes visual information, is more active. However, that's not enough to say that our eyesights get better when we exercise just yet! Giesbrcht and Bullock went on to see how exercise specifically affects different types of cognitive functioning and found out that the peak response is actually during low-intensity exercise in comparison to rest or high-intensity exercise (great for those who don't like to move so much!). During this time, the brain neurons are more sensitive to visual stimuli.

Although Giesbrecht commented that the exact mechanism responsible for the increased performance is unknown, this is a great first step in the research. Exercise is a more stable and measurable method in experiements, and with a bit more research, more findings will follow to determine the exact mechanism underlying the increased visual performance during physical activity.

Source material from Science Daily

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