Fitness in the Home
Many individuals who are blind or deaf-blind have a difficult time getting out into the community to access recreation and fitness activities. In addition, they often have a hard time finding a sighted guide to aid in running, walking or tandem bicycling. Accessing fitness and recreation activities in the home can be an easy, safe and rewarding endeavor for the participant and the family.
Jump rope: Jump rope has shown to be effective in improving the flexibility and aerobic capacity of children with visual impairment (Chao-Chien & Shih-Yen, 2011). In addition, jump rope can aid in agility, balance, endurance and muscular endurance. It can be done slowly with no impact, or fast with high impact. It can be done to your favorite music, or to no music. Jump rope can be done in the driveway, in the yard, or in a clear garage. It can be done fast or slow, to a count or for time. It can be done with family and friends and can be improved upon with participation.
Weight training: Weight training can improve bone density, muscular strength, and flexibility. It can consist of light hand-weights (2-5 lbs.), or heavy barbells and a weight bench. Participants can also purchase a chin-up bar to hang in the doorway. It can be done in the living room, garage, television room, or in the back yard. It can be done with family and friends, and can be improved upon with continued participation.
Stationary bike: The benefits of riding a stationary bike are improved endurance, muscular strength, and muscular endurance. The advantages can be found in the previous section. It can be done in the home with no modifications, and can be measured by miles or time ridden.
Yoga: The life of an individual with a visual impairment is often very stressful. Yoga has many advantages including weight loss, muscular strength, flexibility, and most importantly, relaxation. Yoga can be learned in a class, by reading a book, or from a video. Once yoga moves are learned the participant can train in the home or yard alone or with friends and family. This is an inexpensive way to improve fitness and gain much needed relaxation.
Aerobics: As described previously, aerobics can be done at home with a video or with music. The initial routine may have to be taught or described by a helper, but after that the participant can participate independently. The participant can include an 8 count or a 4 count routine and combine different moves. Aerobics can be done with family and friends of all ages.
Basketball: Basketball is a fun and accessible sport whether the participant has a basket or not. Participants can use regulation women's or men's balls, balls with bells, or beach balls. If alone, participants can practice bouncing sitting, walking or running. They can practice shooting by following the sound of the ball when it rebounds. The location of the basket can be found with a bell on a string (string tied to a bell on basket pulled by participant), or a metronome behind the basket. If participants have a family member or peer to play with they can practice bounce passes, chest passes, and catching. Bounce passes are easiest to catch. See the book "Games for People with Sensory Impairments" by Lieberman and Cowart through Human Kinetics for more ideas about basketball and many other sports and games.