Holding Breath During Exercise Linked to Glaucoma Risk
SAM: Yes, a study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology shows that holding your breath while lifting weights does increase intra-ocular pressure on the eye. Therefore, holding your breath is a risk factor for developing glaucoma.
Researchers in Manhattan surveyed 30 men between the ages of 18 and 40 while performing the bench press, first while breathing in and out normally, and second while holding their breath. About 95% of the men who held their breath experienced increased eye pressure.
It’s very important to exhale while lifting weights. To do this properly, inhale on the “recovery” portion of each lift and exhale on the “exertion” portion of the lift. This will reduce the amount of pressure which builds up in your head and eyes.
People should also use caution when engaging in exercises (such as various yoga poses) which require you to suspend yourself in an upside down position, as this may also increase intra-ocular pressure.