People with visual impairment may be prone to lower levels of fitness compared to their non-impaired peers. Obesity is now officially classified as a disease, which stresses the importance of a physically active lifestyle. At a minimum, adults with visual impairment should adapt activities as necessary to achieve the recommended physical activity guidelines given by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)-150 minutes a week of moderate-to-vigorous activity. Fall-risk is a concern when aging is combined with visual impairment. Adults with visual impairment should aim to improve their balance and physical capacity to reduce their risk of falls. Children with visual impairment have additional barriers to exercise: parents’ and childrens’ perceptions of the importance of exercise have been shown to decrease with greater losses in vision (Suart, Lieberman, & Hand, 2006). Thus, parents of children with visual impairment act as a facilitator for exercise and a healthy lifestyle. Intervention programs aimed at improving physical activity in children with visual impairment should also consider parent participation. At a minimum, people with visual impairment should be motivated to achieve the same physical activity recommendations as their non-visually impaired peers through adapted exercise.
These findings should be shared with colleagues in higher education to educate future teachers on best practices to teach physical activity to individuals who are visually impaired and blind. Professional preparation programs for teachers of the visually impaired, adapted physical education, physical education, early intervention, and therapeutic recreation specialists must encourage their students to try different physical activity modes so they can make effective decisions when they have the opportunity. In addition, these options must be taught to physicians so they do not unnecessarily issue blanket excuses from physical activity just because a person is visually impaired or blind. These are safe and effective techniques so every person can be an active participant in and out of school.