Exercise for People Who Are Blind or Have Low Vision
Everyone, including people with visual impairments, can benefit from some form of exercise. Before you begin any exercise routine, it's recommended that you talk with your medical doctor and your eye doctor, since some medical and eye conditions can be affected by bending, lifting, straining, or rapid movement.
Discuss your needs with a fitness instructor at a local gym, health club, or community center. Most instructors can work one-on-one with you to create a fitness program that is safe and effective. They also teach proper form and movement when performing new exercises.
Exercise and Exercise Equipment
- Exercise equipment with dials requiring specific settings or defining specific boundaries can be marked with contrasting tape, raised dots, or large print. See Labeling and Marking for more information.
- Low impact aerobics or exercise equipment, such as a treadmill or stationary bike, can help with cardiovascular workouts.
- Think about balance and flexibility. There are a number of simple exercises that you can use to improve both.
- Try static stretching, such as tai chi or yoga, to enhance muscle tone and enhance body awareness and movement in space.
- For muscle definition, try using hand weights, rubber bands, resistance equipment, and body balls.
- Think about new ways to adapt an activity. Walk with a friend, use a track for running instead of running the road, or try cross country skiing instead of downhill.
- The National Center on Physical Activity with a Disability website has a searchable database of personal trainers who are experienced in working with individuals with disabilities. Find one in your zip code.
- Martial arts should be introduced by, and learned with, a qualified instructor. Find an instructor who can work one-on-one with you to guide you through movements and provide repetition.
- Consider trying a form of martial arts that focuses on movement and body awareness. Martial arts that use target and object recognition may be more difficult for a beginner. Many people have found Judo to be a satisfying and effective sport.
- Focus on the environment and sensory development, particularly awareness of your body position in space and of others around you.
- Go4 Life Exercise for People with Low Vision
- General Fitness
- See Sports & Exercise, Sports Groups, and Recreation, Sports, & Leisure Products for tips, answers to frequently-asked questions, and resources for sports and leisure equipment and activities.
- The Blind Judo Foundation provides professional development activities, information, and educational resources.
- The Judo Information Site has coaching tips, rules, and benefits of judo for blind athletes.
- "Safe Without Sight", a self-defense home study course for persons with vision impairments published by the National Braille Press.
- "Blind Zen" is the story of a blind woman's efforts to learn self-defense.
- Tuesday Night Tandems: An Opportunity for Fun and Fitness
Bonnie O'Day and husband Bob Hartt, both visually impaired, discuss starting a tandem bike club in our nation's capital.