Accessible Fitness, more choices for more people

Fitness has always been a concern with regard to both mental and physical health regardless of age, gender, or any other variables that make each one of us unique. And for those in the blind community, fitness is every bit as much—if not more—important.

Exercise for the visually impaired is something that should be incorporated into a weekly, if not daily, routine for a variety of reasons that are both similar and different from people within the sighted community. For those with total loss of sight as well as for those who are low sighted, a lack of regular exercise can bring on a host of other issues, including weight gain, sluggishness, and perhaps worst of all for many, insomnia or a circadian rhythm that has been thrown completely off track.

A quality workout done at the right time of day and at the right pace to meet your unique physical and mental needs is just what the doctor may have forgotten to order. For many blind people, fitness has been a challenge: without someone to guide you and without the ability to drive yourself to the gym, it becomes obvious why so many visually impaired individuals give up—but with the BlindAlive line of Fitness Workouts for blind people, you’ll never have to depend on anyone else again.

Yoga and Strength Training with wieghts for blind people along with a variety of other cardiovascular exercises help our bodies stay toned, help us gain muscle mass and lose weight, but most of all, can help lead a blind person away from a sense of helplessness.

Are you ready to sweat? Come get healthy and leave all your notions of not being able to get fit due to your visual impairment behind with BlindAlive!

Did my cardiac stent cause me to have muddled thinking?

We couldn't think of a better way to start 2017 than with this fantastic Honorable Mention from our writing contest.

Did my cardiac stent cause me to have muddled thinking?

by Dee Leverenz

Odd title? Perhaps…  I’m planning on running in my first 5K in April of 2017 which will be two months short of my 63rd birthday. Sure let’s run my first 5K in my sixties, totally blind and not quite 2 years out from a heart stent! Muddled thinking? You decide…

I’ve always been “relatively” healthy. I say relatively because I have always been at a decent weight, eaten lots of fruits and vegetables, liked working out and being active. My cholesterol numbers, blood pressure, and heart rate have been in the normal range at every yearly physical, my bone density tests and fat/muscle ratio have also been fine.  To add to that “relatively” Neither did I watch my salt intake nor did I concern myself with how often I consumed sweets, carbs or fatty meats. I also enjoy a nice drink and inevitably if I’m drinking I would grab a smoke too. I’m a girl from the 70’s so drinking and smoking seemed to just go together. Hey! What can I say? The doctors referred to me as a social smoker? Who knew? I’m just being honest here.  So during an evening in May of 2015 while my husband was asking me what movie we might want to watch that evening, my answer was, “well, I really don’t know because right now I’m trying to decide if I’m having a heart attack”. I think my husband gave himself whiplash turning towards me. Needless to say, off to the hospital we go.

A side note here, if you ever have to go to an emergency room, at the intake desk, if you tell them that you are wondering if you are having heartburn and that your ear/jaw seems to be aching… like magic,  Bing bang boom no waiting! I’m just saying...

The next several hours/days were taken up with blood tests, EKG's, X-rays, and stress testing, it was finally determined nope, not a heart attack, but I did have an over 90% blockage in one of my arteries. Even my PCP was absolutely dumbfounded with that result… really doc? You’re dumbfounded? Welcome to my world! After a coronary balloon angioplasty and a stent placement, I began my journeyto try to figure out huh? Really? How could this be?

During my cardiac rehab, while tread milling, bicycling, ellipticaling and doing other such activities with my fellow Coronary artery disease Workout mates, and noticing how many return customers there were to this rehab, I began wondering… What in the world is going on here? Why are so many returning? After reading tons of information, (both traditional medicine and integrative medicine) and asking millions of questions to both medical professionals and patients, annoying my cardiac doctorto distraction, and finding myself needing to referee between two doctors my PCP and cardiac doctor, who by the way got into a bit of a pissing contest over what medicines and treatment would be best for me… helloooo… me… the patient… really I do have a say here, you know my life, my heart, my death… We finally came up with medications and a treatmentplan that “we” could all live with. isn’t it nice when doctors and patients can play well with one another? sheesh! {insert rolling eyes here}

Fast forward to the present. Through several coincidences I’ve hooked up with two other totally blind ladies in my town. I’ve been blind almost all my life, but these two ladies are under 10 years of their lost 20/20 vision. Even though we all liveonly an hour south of Nashville Tennessee, it is another world here. We have no organizations for the blind and no public transportation to Nashville. As the three of us begin trying to organize and reach out to the community, I’ve talked these ladies into trying to run in our yearly “Mule Day” 5K… Mule day you might wonder? Mule Kick 5K? I know, but Columbia Tennessee is considered the Mule capital of the world… really, no kidding!

We are all at different skill levels, but we all feel by April if nothing else a fast walking pace should get us across the finish line under an hour. I’ve told the other ladies at the very least we want to cross that finish line in front of the pregnant ladies pushing theirtoddlers in strollers! I think we can do it! Please god let us do it!!! Right now we are all physically working ourselves up to be at our best by that April deadline. Since getting to a gym on our own is next to impossible, we are all using different home-exercise routines. We text each other each time we workout to not only encourage each other to get moving, but admittedly texting might apply a little guilt if one of us hasn’t gotten off her butt in a few days. (encouragement/guilt, whatever it takes to get us to that 5K!) I’m in the process of finding guides for us. Being none of us have ever attempted anything like this, we know after finding our guides we will have to individually work with them to find our personal rhythms and techniques. Besides finishing before the pregnant ladies, we are hoping that 3 blind ladies running will give us some attention, not onlyto get the word out that blind folks are capable citizens, but also wanting to grab the attention of other blind folks in our community.

Wish us luck and move over you pregnant galsbecause here we come!

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