Thursday, April 5, 2012

A different kind of training

We are all familiar with training the physical and mental aspects of our bodies.  What about our eyesight?  Believe it or not there are exercises you can do to train your vision; allowing you to perform better in a given sport, or as simple as improving hand/eye coordination.

I have read several articles and have spoken with a few Z-Health specialists and both stress the importance of improving  hand/eye coordination in an effort to improve athletic performance.  Here are a few scenarios that make me a believer in training me eye muscles as well as my leg, back, core muscles.

Scenario #1 - An NBA player at the free throw line.  He makes the free throw and his team wins.  There is a lot riding on his shot and he vision has to be optimal.

Scenario #2 - A golfer ready to put in an effort to win his first Masters.  Being able to read the correct line and hit the ball with his putter just right can be the difference between millions of dollars.

Scenario #3 - An outfielder running to catch a fly ball, that if caught, could win the game and the World Series.  How important is his eyesight...very.

Of course these are extreme cases, but we all will have moments in life and in sport that require our vision to be sharp.  So why not spend a few minutes each night or day training your eyes just like you train the rest of your body.

So if you are still reading and are ready to do some exercises, here you go.  Do each exercise 10 times for the first 1-2 weeks and then increase by 5 each week following until you are able to do each exercise for 3 minutes.  Just like your other bodily muscles, your eyes will get tired the more you do.  Be conservative in the beginning.

Photo Credit Jupiterimages/ Images

#1.  Side To Side:  Look side to side as far as you can and pick something to focus on.

#2.  Up/Down:  Same as above only look up and down focusing on an object.

#3.  Diagonal:  Look right to left and then left to right (10 each direction)

#4.  Eye Circles:  Move your eyes clockwise and then counter clockwise.

#5  Focus Drill:  Using index cards, write 1 word on each card.  Hold one index card in your hand close to your face, and tape the other card about 5-10 feet away in front of you.  Start by focusing on the word in your hands as quickly as possible, and then switch to the other word and try to focus on that word as quickly as you can.  Switch back and forth for the total # of reps you are doing.

That's it.  5 simple exercises that can be done while sitting at work or at home.

In addition to eye exercises what you eat can also help improve your eyesight.  Antioxidants are critical for maintaining proper eye health and help to fight off free radical damage to the eyes.

Vitamin C (strawberries, broccoli, oranges, kale), Vitamin A (steak, cod liver oil, carrots, sweet potatoes), and Essential Amino Acids (salmon, mahi mahi, trout)

will help provide benefits for optimal vision.  And not only will eating these foods improve your vision, but they will also help improve your health.  Gee, it's amazing how eating certain foods (vegetables, fruit, and lean protein) can help improve so many areas of our body.  Don't make it difficult, stick to the foods that Mother Nature provided us with.

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