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Staying active when you’re sight impaired

Asian Chinese visually impaired mature man holding running tether in public park with guide runner

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Getting active is tricky at the best of times when you’ve not exercised for a while, but what do you do when sight impairment makes it even more difficult? Here’s how you can stay active when you’re sight impaired. 

If you’re nervous about getting active because your sight is impaired and this stops you from enjoying physical activity, here are a few ways you can start to incorporate exercise into your life. 

Start small 

When you’re not used to exercising, doing too much too soon is a recipe for disaster. If you’re not used to exercising, start by going for a short walk to get yourself used to moving your body. Remember that exercise doesn’t have to be about spending hours in the gym, walking is beneficial too! 

Exercise with a friend 

Exercising with a friend makes it much more appealing. As well as being a fun way to socialise, you’ll be less likely to talk yourself out of exercise sessions as you’ll know you’ve got someone depending on you. A good friend can also help you in other ways, such as letting you know when you’re close to the wall at the pool when swimming or acting as a guide when running. 

Consider a personal trainer 

Some people are put off the idea of employing the help of a personal trainer because it’s another expense, but if you can afford to, enlisting the help of a fitness professional is a brilliant idea. They’ll be able to show you exactly how to do different exercises and can help adapt them to suit your needs. They’ll also be on hand to encourage you when you find things tough, and they’ll be by your side to celebrate when you start achieving your goals. 

Adapt as necessary 

There are a lot of things you can do to adapt exercise so you can take part with impaired vision. Some gyms or leisure centres offer adapted exercise classes or provide adapted exercise equipment, but there’s plenty you can do on your own too. 

For example, you could use a kickboard when swimming so it hits the side of the pool when you get close to it, you could mark on/off switches or other functional buttons on exercise machines with high-contrast, large print instructions, or you could do some exercise moves sitting down if you’re worried about bumping into things. If you can change something to help you get active, it’s worth doing. 

Think about what you can do, not what you can’t do 

Often, we’re our own worst enemy, focusing on our limitations instead of what we can do. You might think your vision loss is a barrier to exercise, and that may put you off trying, but try and think of the things you’re able to do. Indoor exercise machines can make it possible for you to cycle and run safely, and there are lots of audio-only exercise routines online. Exercise is important for everyone, so don’t let your vision get in the way of staying active. 

Why not visit British Blind Sport for more free resources and lots of ideas for ways to get active when you’re sight impaired. 


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