Eyes getting worse? Myopia, loss of vision, and vision problems are on the rise. Could it be our constant use of smartphone screens, tablet screens, and computer screens? And did you know stand up paddling can actually help?
An interesting study out of Harvard states that a new prominent problem is ensuing called computer vision syndrome from staring at screens for extended periods of time, causing dry eyes due to lack of blinking and eyestrain. But more than that, studies also indicate that myopia or near-sightedness is increasing from screen time and has been steadily increasing since the inception of the smartphone.
Did you know the antidote for vision issues could be paddling?
Because as one study shows “outdoor play” can reduce the prevalence of myopia. Therefore, what better way to play outdoors than on the water paddling.
And here’s my theory....paddling gives you a chance to have your eyes gazing into the distance, the horizon, the water, and the shore around you allowing the eye muscles to relax. That’s right, while your whole body (specifically your core) is working, the eye can relax when distance-gazing. Screen time strains the eye, while distance gazing relaxes the eyes.
Looking to improve your improve? Try this:
- Distance Gazing. As your body is moving on the paddle board, look at the waves, the horizon, the sky, the clouds and try to make out out far off details of each. Feel your eyes relaxing naturally and start with focusing on it for 1 minute, working up to 4-6 minutes over time. Relaxing your eyes daily is critical for optimizing vision health.
- Seating Gazing Meditation. Paddle out to quiet cove or area, sit down on your board in a comfortable position, or lie on your back. While relaxing your body, fix your eyes on the horizon, and focus on feeling the eye relax as it softly focuses on an object on the horizon. Also, calmly breath in and out deeply envisioning your breath going into the eyes and relaxing the eyes further.
Bonus personal note from the author: as a professional stand up paddler I have practiced distance gazing for some time, and in addition to some other exercises I have improved my vision and dropped two and half diopters on my vision prescription. I now have better eye sight than I have had since childhood.
Just like your core can be trained, your eyes can too. One more reason to get out there and paddle.
Branson West, Missouri - Jodelle Fitzwater has been a yoga instructor for over 15 years, and a SUP instructor for over 5 years. She's a BiC SUP Pro Stand Up Paddle Ambassador, SUP TV Fitness & Yoga Host, Certified PaddleFit Instructor, ACSM Certified Personal Trainer, and Certified Nutrition Coach. Oh, yea, and self-proclaimed mermaid.Website: www.getfitwithjodelle.com/