Marathon transforms many things in us. But the surprising part is that it can also make your eyesight improve and ditch your corrective lenses. Exercise primes our Central Nervous System and promotes vision health along with cardio health.
What researchers say
There have been researches in which many marathon runners were compared to sedentary people over a year. Their cognitive ability and retinal blood vessel health were monitored. The data was noted between runners and sedentary people, also for runners before running a marathon, just after completing a marathon, and 8 weeks after the event. The researchers were looking for better blood flow in the brain and eyes besides other cardiovascular benefits.
How it happens
Endurance workouts like long-distance running create vascular adaptations which improve the vascular system overall. It has been proven that arteries and veins in the retinal region widen during running especially when running lasts for more than 60 minutes. Although initially, the effect lasts only for a few hours after running, however over a while the adaptation duration increases. Further prolonging running strengthens the vascular system which lasts for a longer period even after detraining. Marathon training prevents issues like retinal vascular occlusion (Retinal vascular occlusion is a complete or partial blockage of blood vessels that reduced vision as we age).
During studies, it was found that cognitive decline is responsible for decreased cerebral blood flow. Thus if by some means we can keep our vascular system active and robust, we can not only maintain but improve brain functions overall.
What is good for you
It is not just the actual marathon but training too which contributes towards the improved overall health. During marathon training, you will have many sessions over 60 minutes. Also since the training process is regular and organized, the adaptation of the central nervous system gains. Acute exercise such as marathon push towards more intense activity thereby contributing to higher adaptation. This result is more like a permanent improvement. A prolonged period of detraining only can take away the benefits.
Take home answer
Cognitive improvement and better vascular function are a straight effect of a regular and consistent exercise routine. The routine must have acute bouts of strenuous exercises as a major component so that the effect is adopted for a prolonged period.
Article By: Jitender Harjai Fitness and Life Coach H2F Care