By Nathan Tree
Living with sight loss often puts up barriers when it comes to being active. But when coupled with social isolation keeping us all at home and social distancing limiting how people can be guided, it can feel like an impossibility for some.
As an avid Blind Ice Hockey player myself, having my schedule cancelled hit me hard. I am used to training at least twice a week and going to the gym in between. The lockdown has also meant that I have missed a Blind Ice Hockey tournament and training camp om Canada this year. As this is my passion, I started the lockdown struggling to be motivated in maintaining myfitness for the future.
The government guidance initially stated that we were allowed to leave the house once a day for exercise but because social distancing is in effect, it can be very hard to do this alone. I try to go out walking/ running once a day and am fortunate enough that my partner can be there to guide me and tell me when to avoid other people. I appreciate that this may not be possible for all, so I have some tips for exercising aline in public.
- Use a visual aid such as a symbol cane or blind running vest so people know you may not be able to see or avoid them.
- Stick to areas you know well.
- Try to go at less busy times.
- See if you can go with someone who can guide you at a safe distance.
For some, this may not be possible, plus you may also want to incorporate some exercises you can do at home to replace the gym or keep healthy without going outside.
There are plenty of exercises you can do in the comfort of your own home without the need for specialist equipment. You could take a leaf from Captain Tom Moore’s book and walk laps of your garden or do what I have done and created weights using heavier items in the house such as a money box full of coins or some water bottles.
There are also plenty of audio described workout programs to work from online at the links below.
The British Blind Sport first steps program is also a great way to get children into exercising at home.
The advice I would give to someone with a visual impairment who finds it hard, is just starting or inactive at the moment is to use the resources available, try a range of activities, see what works for you and keep trying.
I have now actually quit the gym and bought some equipment to use at home and will be participating in an online ice hockey training camp to make sure I am ready for when we can play again.
If you would like some advice on exercising and keeping well, contact us.