If you are visually challenged, working out can seem like a daunting task. But don’t worry! There are innumerable ways to stay active and healthy, even with a vision impairment.
Here is a crisp overview of the things you need to know to help you get started:
Listen to Your Body
Certain exercises and activities may be difficult or impossible without putting undue strain on your eyes. Therefore, it’s of vital importance to know your body and what it can handle. In this regard, don’t push yourself too hard, especially if you’re starting a new exercise routine. If you feel pain, dizziness, or other uncomfortable symptoms, stop exercising and seek medical attention if necessary.
Pushing yourself too hard can result in serious injury. Instead, focus on doing what you can and gradually increase your activity level. It will help you stay safe while still getting the exercise you need.
Moreover, a few eye-related diseases can worsen if you don’t listen to your body when working out. For example, if you have glaucoma, high intraocular pressure can damage the optic nerve and lead to blindness. If you have diabetic retinopathy, exercise may increase blood sugar levels and damage the retina. And if you have age-related macular degeneration, working out may lead to vision loss.
Also, strenuous exercise can put you at risk for further injury if you have any retinal detachment. So,be cautious of changes in vision during or after a workout if you want to tone your body.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Working out can be challenging when you have problems viewing things clearly. You may not be able to see the equipment or the weights and you may not be able to follow the instructor’s guidelines. Hence, be aware of your surroundings before working out.
It means being aware of where you are in relation to other people and objects and any changes in your environment. It also indicates having an idea about the obstacles in your path, changes in elevation and other potential hazards.
For example, while running on a treadmill, be aware of people and the objects around you. If lifting weights, be mindful of the barbell and the weight stack. Besides, when exercising outdoors, take the necessary measures to stay safe. For example, stick to well-lit areas and avoid busy streets if you are walking. If you are cycling, wear bright clothing and use a reflector or headlights.
Do not forget to wear the proper eye protection while working out if the surrounding is dusty. It may include prescription or contact lenses, sunglasses, or even special sports goggles designed for people with vision problems. Wearing the proper eye protection will help you avoid further damage to your eyes and help you see more clearly while working out.
Consider Using Adaptive Equipment
Adaptive equipment can make working out more enjoyable and effective for people with eye problems. Various items can be used, such as weighted gloves or special glasses.
A few different types of adaptive equipment can be used when working out. One type is called an “ambulatory aid.” It includes devices such as canes, walkers and crutches. These devices can help you stay balanced and support your weight while exercising.
Another type of adaptive equipment is called “assistive technology.” It includes devices such as Braille displays, computer voice synthesizers and modified keyboards. These devices can help you access information or communicate with others while working out.
While selecting the adaptive equipment, consider what equipment will help you stay balanced and on track. For example, using a treadmill with a handrail can help you stay safe while working out. Moreover, using equipment with large buttons or Braille may be helpful if you have a vision impairment.
Avoid High Impact Activities
If you want to get rid of those extra pounds, think about how long it may take to get back in shape. When working out with a vision defect, it is important to know the potential consequences of high-impact activities. These activities can strain the eye and cause further damage to the retina or other parts of the eye.
High-impact activities like running or playing basketball can be tough on people with visual impairment. The jarring motions make it difficult to see clearly and the impact can cause additional damage to the eyes. Swimming, walking and yoga are feasible options for people with impaired vision, so try to find an exercise routine that works for you.
If you have a vision problem, you may need to avoid high-impact activities altogether. If you must participate in high-impact activities, wear proper eye protection like goggles or other protective eyewear.
Consult Your Doctor
Exercise can help improve your vision but also exacerbate certain conditions. If you plan a workout routine with problematic eyesight, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor. Some exercises may put an additional burden on your eyes and worsen your condition, and only a doctor can tell you about it beforehand. It is imperative if you have pre-existing medical conditions.
Your doctor can guide you on what exercises are safe for you and how to modify your routine to accommodate your visual disorder. For example, people with glaucoma often need to avoid activities that increase their intraocular pressure, such as lifting weights. People with diabetic retinopathy may need special care when exercising to avoid injuring their eyes. Physical exertion can help you stay fit despite having vision problems. So, do not hesitate to talk to your doctor to get on the right path.
There is no easy fix for vision problems and working out can be challenging. Start with low-impact exercises and build up gradually after consulting a professional physician. If you take precautions, you can stay safe. Just be aware of your surroundings and take things slowly until you get used to the new routine. Don’t let your vision problem stop you from reaching your fitness goals!