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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!

Are You A Secret Eavesdropper? Closed Doors Can Change A Life

It is a cool, rainy day and Jingles, my guide dog is curled at my side keeping me safe and warm. Fear, anger, and sadness have been running high these last weeks and I decided that today is the day to go digging around in my inner terrain to find out why. These deep explorations are not much fun, but in order to free myself, I have learned that these trips are necessary. Emotions are not supposed to take up residence in a body. They are supposed to be “energy in motion,” so they need to keep moving. It is up to us to keep them moving through, so they do not get stuck, and set us up for depression and disease.

In my travels back in time, I found a little girl, probably about five or six. There were many trips to the ophthalmologist in those days, and anxiety was palpable. Of course, I didn’t know what that was all about back then. I remember feeling like I needed to yawn constantly during the hour-long trip. I also remember having no appetite on the appointment days. Orange juice was the only thing I could get down. I always sat between my parents in the front seat. Silence reigned except for what we now call “elevator music.” I guess it soothed  my parents.

Once we arrived at the doctor’s office -- usually an hour before the scheduled appointment - we had to wait and wait, which ramped up the fear. My father always wanted to have plenty of time in case of a flat tire or some other unforeseen circumstance. Finally we would be called back to the office where they would put drops in my eyes, then tell us to go wait for 45 minutes while my eyes dilated. We went to the Howard Johnsons and got ice cream. I liked that part. We hurried back to the office so we could wait some more  before the actual appointment.

Eventually, the nurse called us back. Mom went with me and my father stayed in the waiting room. The nurse sat me in the chair and asked me to read the eye chart with one eye then the other. I could read the big E and the two letters below that. I guessed the others. I knew I had failed in some way but nobody talked to me about it. Dr. Stokes came in after that and shined all kinds of lights, but said nothing to me. Then, they told me to go wait with Dad. I was super sensitive and curious. I would leave the office door cracked when I left. I pretended to go to the nearby bathroom. I very quietly would float back to the office door where I could hear them talking about me. I could only pick out a few phrases now and then but it was enough to know that something was terribly wrong. As far as I know, they never knew I did this on many of the visits. I always had the bathroom as my excuse for being in the hallway.

On the trip home, I often got in the back seat so I could go to sleep. Silence and music again. I remember looking over the seat and seeing Dad holding Mom’s hand.

I began to notice that when we got home Mom and Dad would go into their bedroom and close the door. This was very unusual. Naturally, I did my best to listen. The door was thick and voices were muffled. I knew they were talking about me, but I could not make out the words. I can feel the exact gnawing in my solar plexus as I write this. Bingo! There it is! My trip back in time was successful. I found the origin of the fear.

Now what? I found it so now what do I do with it?

I breathe, breathe, and breathe some more. As I keep up a steady breath, the feeling rises up ragged and sharp. The fear, anger, and raw grief moves through my system and into the tissues and into the air. I allow the cleansing tears to flow. I am crying for that little girl who knew a secret that she was not supposed to know. I was losing my vision like my older sister but it was a secret, so it must be a horrible thing. That little girl had no words for the feelings, nor anyone to tell the secret to. The feelings became walled off in a tight vault in the center of her body. There they have stayed for decades.

Like I said earlier, emotions are not supposed to get held in and walled off. They are meant to be felt and then move through without attaching. Fortunately, there are ways to get them unstuck once they are tracked down and identified. Breathing consciously with awareness is the best way I have found to clear out the old feelings. It creates space in my system for courage and laughter. The tightness in my stomach has softened and I can breathe better than before. I have taken this trip back in time on many occasions. When I take time to be with myself, I discover forgotten moments, some to be treasured and some to be washed and breathed away.

Our bodies hold on to all kinds of memories and emotions. This can cause both physical and psychological pain and disease. We can often avoid this by simply breathing and feeling. It is a gift we can give to ourselves.

Good health to you,
Mel

 

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