eye_exercisesYou’ve always known that it is important to exercise your major muscle groups, but did you know that is it just as important to exercise your eyes?
While some eye conditions require glasses, contacts, or invasive procedures such as lasik eye surgery to be alleviated, many common eye problems that can be prevented and even corrected by simple eye exercises and healthy vision habits.
If you are curious about how you can maintain the health and functionality of your eyes naturally, consider incorporating these six eye exercises into your day.
Warming your eyes. Yes, you read right – even the muscles in your eyes need to warm up before being put to use. There are many ways you can do this little exercise, but the easiest way to warm up your eyes is to cup your hands over them, holding your hands in this position for a few minutes. The best time to do this is when you wake up in the morning, but you can also perform this exercise as you’re resting during the day or when you go to bed at night.
Rolling your eyes. An all-too-popular expression of disgust in most cultures, eye-rolling can actually benefit your eyes by strengthening their tiny muscles and increasing their range of motion. To get the most benefit from this exercise, start by looking up as far as you can, then rotate your eyes clockwise, making as large of a visual circle as possible. Repeat counterclockwise.
Zooming. This exercise is designed to strengthen your eyes’ transition between near vision and far vision. To perform this exercise, sit or stand with your thumb held out directly in front of you. You can also hold an object in your hand instead – just make sure that it is visible. Starting with your arm in an outstretched position, move your thumb or object slowly towards you and slowly back out to its original position. Repeat several times.
Making a Figure 8. This exercise is done exactly as it sounds. All you need to do is imagine that there is a giant number 8 on the floor or the wall in front of you, and follow the curves of that 8 with only your eyes, keeping your head still. Once you have completed a full tracing of the 8, reverse the direction. Do this several times on each side.
Directional movement. This exercise is similar to #2, but this time, you will be focusing on moving your eyes in specific directions. Start by keeping your head still and only moving your eyes from the center to the left five or six times. Repeat this movement on the right side, then start the routine over by looking up and then down. Directional movement will help strengthen your eyes and further develop their ability to respond quickly and precisely.
Resting your eyes. As every athlete knows, rest is a critical part of getting stronger, faster, and healthier. As muscles, your eyes need to rejuvenate just as much as the rest of your body. Aside from getting enough sleep to aid repair and recovery, it is important to give your eyes a break from daily activities such as reading or staring at a computer screen. While it is true that many of us cannot simply pause our work on a whim, we can still alleviate some of the strain we put on our eyes by incorporating brief resting periods into our activities. For example, you should never stare at a computer screen for more than 20 minutes at a time. So every 20 minutes, take your eyes off the screen and focus on something in the distance – maybe out the window or down a hallway. Making this a habit will help prevent depth perception problems, and as an added bonus, it can also help prevent migraines.
Your eyes are yours for life, so now is time to start taking good care of them. Although you may not necessarily be able to prevent every possible eye condition, especially as you age, there are certain steps you can take to preserve the vision you have now and prevent vision problems in the future.