The benefits of exercise are innumerable, reaching far beyond the basics of weight loss and preventing heart attacks. When we move our bodies, we are able to improve blood flow to systems of organs that promote our wellbeing and general health.
Did you know that the ears are among the organs that can benefit from exercise? Let’s take a moment to look at the ways that exercise can benefit our hearing before turning to consider some of the simple ways that exercise can be incorporated into our lifestyles in lasting ways.
Exercise and Hearing Health
When we exercise our bodies, a number of chain reactions are set in motion. First, we use our muscles to move, and added exertion can both strengthen and stretch these many muscles of the body.
Beyond the direct effect on muscular motion, perhaps the most important muscle of the body is strengthened, as well: the heart. When we raise our heart rate through aerobic exercise, we increase its capacity to pump oxygenated blood through the body. In precisely this function of exercise lies the relationship with hearing.
The tiny hair-like cells of the inner ear rely on oxygenated blood to do their work of sensing subtle changes in pressure due to sound. When they receive the oxygen and nutrients they need, they are able to function fully. Yet, when they are deprived of richly oxygenated blood, experts believe that they can be damaged and even stop functioning within some frequency ranges.
Lab experiments with mice demonstrate precisely this effect. Mice that were allowed to exercise and move regularly experienced a 5 percent loss of hearing ability over their lifetimes. However, mice that were limited in their ability to exercise charted 20 percent loss of hearing ability on average over their lifetimes.
If human hearing and exercise patterns look anything like this, then exercise is crucial to preserving hearing ability in older age. Furthermore, the brain requires oxygenated blood for full functioning, as well. At the end of the auditory pathway, the brain is responsible for processing and comprehending sound. Without the necessary oxygen from healthy breathing and blood flow from healthy cardiovascular activity, the brain can suffer similar perils as do other organs of the body.
Incorporating Exercise into Your Lifestyle
A healthy exercise routine can begin with simply using your major muscle groups for 20 to 30 minutes five times a week. Another approach to building exercise into your lifestyle is to incorporate activity in natural ways that are already possible. For instance, when you arrive at work, you might be in the habit of taking the elevator to your floor of the building. Simply by taking the stairs, you can add a few minutes of aerobic exercise into the day. If you work on a floor to which it is infeasible to climb, why not begin by taking a floor or two at first? Once you can easily take one flight, you can add another until you are easily climbing several flights each morning.
Another good physical activity to incorporate is an afternoon walk. Many of us experience a slump in energy in the afternoon, particularly when we have been busy at work all morning at a computer without an opportunity for fresh air. If you can build a habit of an afternoon walk, you can benefit your health in countless ways.
Not only are you adding physical exercise to strengthen your heart and other muscles, but you might also notice a good effect on your mental health and mood. Add to the list this possible connection with preserving your hearing ability, and it is undeniable that the benefits of an afternoon walk far outweigh the inconvenience or the other obstacles.
Treating Hearing Loss
In addition to regular physical activity, treating hearing loss is one major part of your overall health and well-being! Contact us today to schedule a consultation for a hearing test. We look forward to hearing from you!