Although it’s not as widely known as it might be, the positive correlation between being physically active and better hearing is well established. It basically comes down to keeping the circulatory system — including the tiny capillaries inside your ears — in good working order.

The highly calibrated parts of our ear are very dependent on good blood flow. Likewise, our brains require a high level of oxygen to function at the highest level. The ears, which capture the vibrations made by sound, and the brain, which processes them into what we hear, are systems that both function much better when well-served by the cardiovascular system.

The auditory processing that our brains perform is actually a very complex function. Studies have shown that exercise — since it increases the flow of highly oxygenated blood throughout the body — enhances brain function in a number of areas, hearing is one of them.

Likewise, the inner ear’s cochlea and its finely tuned outer hair cells require a constant inflow and outflow of blood. A degraded cardiovascular system begins to not provide that vital task, leading to a degradation of function — and thus hearing.

Any exercise routine that drives up your pulse and respiratory rate on at least five days a week — for 20 to 30 minutes per session — is considered beneficial. This is known as aerobic exercise and includes things like walking, jogging, biking, rowing, or swimming.

In addition, just making it a point to walk more — taking the stairs instead of the elevator, for example — will benefit the cardiovascular system. It’s all good, including for your hearing.