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!


Pilates Chair With Ring was designed by Edye Fisher-Discount. The entire routine is performed while seated in a chair. The Pilates ring provides resistance while pressing the foam handles together, apart, or against another body part. It is so simple and yet so effective.

Combining correct breathing technique and resistance with the ring creates muscle strength in the core and entire body. The ring is easy to carry anywhere.

Jason Castonguay composed a delightful music track which supports the voice of Debbie Hazelton as she describes every position for you.

You may purchase a ring here or find one in most stores where fitness equipment is sold.

We provide detailed supplementary audio and text descriptions below. You won’t find another workout like this anywhere. The descriptions are complete and if you need help, you can contact us.

Price: $19.10

Listen to Sample of Pilates Chair With Ring

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1 - Introduction

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Text Description: This is the introduction to the Eyes Free Fitness Pilates Chair with Ring workout. It is recommended that you either read this information or listen to the audio descriptions at least once. You will need a straight chair -- with or without arms -- a Pilates ring, and a good attitude. Have a great workout!

2 - Correct Pilates Breath

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Text Description: It is very important when you do Pilates to breathe correctly. Just breathing this way several times a day can help to tone your core muscles. Sit up tall in your chair, with your shoulders back and down, so the front of your chest feels open. Your chin should not be protruding forward, but your ears should be in line with your shoulders, and your shoulders in line with your hips. Place your fingers on either side of your rib cage, and blow out all of your air. Breathe in, feeling your ribs press laterally, or out to the sides. In Yoga, the emphasis is on breathing so that the belly presses out, but a Pilates breath is somewhat different. Breathe in deeply through your nose, allowing your breath to fill your abdomen, feeling your ribs expand laterally, and filling your lungs. The emphasis is not on holding your breath, but using your diaphragm and your core muscles to exhale. Breathe out through your mouth contracting your muscles to press out the air. Bring your stomach in, and feel your ribs contract, even in the back, as you contract those muscles to make your core smaller. Then, inhale gently and relax. You may feel slightly dizzy because most people are not used to breathing this way. You should breathe like this whenever you hear the instructions to breathe. This is very much about awareness and consciousness. You may forget the proper way to breathe or to move. The important thing is to become more aware of your body over time. If you forget or do something incorrectly, be gentle with yourself, and try again. To recap, breathe in through your nose, pressing the ribs out. Breathe out through your mouth using your muscles to push the air out, feeling your ribs and abdomen contract, making your core smaller. Don't hunch over, but sit tall.

3 - About the Ring

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Text Description: The Pilates ring carried by BlindAlive is a 15-inch ring. You do not have to have a ring this size. If you have a smaller ring, this will work as well. The ring BlindAlive carries is a good option because the foam on the ring is large, easy to work with, and stable on the ring. The ring is rigid, and has two foam hand grips, one on each side. You will use these to orient yourself. The springiness of the ring will allow you to press in or out, creating resistance and strengthening muscles. You will be able to gain quite a lot of strength with the ring, since you can use it for several different kinds of moves.

4 - Double Arm Press Out

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Text Description: This exercise strengthens the outside of your arms, your core muscles, and your chest muscles. Rest the ring on your thighs so that it is vertical. Put both hands inside the ring. Position yourself so that each foam handle comes in contact with the backs of your hands. Slide the ring up just a bit so that the foam handles are resting against your arms, just above your wrists. Keep your fingers and hands relaxed. Then, bring your arms out straight in front of you. Pull your shoulders back and down, feeling your chest open. Take a deep Pilates breath for a count of eight, you are breathing out. At the same time, you are pressing the ring out in a series of small pulses. Imagine that you are trying to spread your arms out to each side just a little with each pulse. If you need to take a breath part way through, that is fine. As you get stronger, your lung capacity will improve, and you will be able to make it through the entire count in one breath. Be sure to remember to sit up tall. A little frustration can be normal, and is a sign that your brain is creating new neural pathways.

5 - Double Arm Squeeze In

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Text Description: This exercise works on the insides of your arms, your pectoralis muscles, and your core muscles. Sit tall, as always, with your shoulders back and down. Again, rest the ring vertically on your thighs. The idea this time is to press in, so put the palms of your hands on the foam, on the outside of the ring. You do not grip the foam with your fingers or thumbs. Just keep your fingers straight out, and your thumbs close to your index fingers. Keep your wrists and elbows strong, but do not lock your elbows. Take a deep breath in through your nose. As you exhale, press your hands toward one another, pulsing them for a count of eight, and squeezing the ring so it bends slightly. This will help with coordination, lung capacity, and core muscle strength. It is not only good for your body, but for your brain as well.

6 - Biceps Press

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Text Description: Sit up tall, and place one of the foam handles of the ring against your right ribs. Place your right hand on the other foam handle; remember not to grip it. When you are in the correct position, you will be making a square. Your forearm will be parallel to your ribs, and your upper arm will be parallel to the ring, which is parallel to the floor. Although this sounds complicated, it will be easy to repeat once you have found the correct position. Take a deep Pilates breath in. As you breathe out, press the ring in toward your body, pulsing gently for a count of eight. You will do this same move on your left side. Place one foam handle against the left side of your ribs, and place the palm of your left hand on the other handle. Inhale, and exhale for a count of eight, while pressing the ring into your body.

7 - Triceps Press

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Text Description: Place the ring so that one of the foam handles is on top of your right shoulder, and the ring is standing straight up. Place the palm of your hand on the other foam handle; remember not to grip it. If you have positioned the ring correctly, your right hand should be above your head. Inhale deeply. As you exhale for a count of eight, press your hand downward. You may even be able to pat yourself on the head. As you exhale, remember to bring your stomach in. Feel your rib cage narrow, as your core is strengthened. You will repeat this same sequence on your left side.

8 - Hamstring Stretch and Strengthen

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Text Description: Loop the ring over your right leg. Position the ring so that one of the foam handles is under the ball of your right foot, just behind your toes. Hold the top of the ring with both hands. When in this position, it is important not to slump forward, but instead, to bend forward at the hips, keeping your back straight. As you breathe in, point your toes. As you breathe out, flex your toes. Instead of breathing in, then out for a count of eight, you will point your toes as you breathe in, and flex them as you breathe out. Remember to tighten your abdominals and pull in your ribs. As you do this, pull up on the ring with both hands. Your left leg is not passive, but is involved in helping to keep you stabilized. When you are finished, place the ring on your left leg, and repeat.

9 - Outer Thigh Press

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Text Description: Put both feet inside the ring. Position the ring just above your knees. Sit tall, as we work the abductors, the outer thighs. Sit tall, and inhale, feeling your ribs, your abdomen, and your lungs expand. If you need to stabilize the ring with your hands, remember to keep your back straight and bend at the hips. As you do a Pilates breath out, press your thighs out for a count of eight as you make your core smaller and tighter. Remember to take a small break if you feel dizzy. If you are unable to breathe out for the entire count of eight, you can build up to this as your lung capacity increases.

10 - Inner Thigh Squeeze

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Text Description: This exercise works your aductor muscles on the insides of your thighs. These muscles help with balance so are very important. Position the ring so that each of the foam handles is against one of your inner thighs. Sit tall, remembering to bend at the hips if you need to stabilize the ring with your hands. Take a large Pilates breath in. As you exhale, squeeze your thighs together, as you tighten your core.

11 - Abdominal Press

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Text Description: Rest the ring vertically so that one of the foam handles is resting on your thighs. Rest your palms on the other foam handle, remembering not to grip. As you exhale, pull in your abdominals and press down with your hands. You should feel this in your abdominals and in your back.

12 - Oblique Press

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Text Description: Sit tall, and position the ring with one of the foam handles on your left thigh. Place your left hand on top of this piece of foam to stabilize it. Your right hand is not straight on the foam, but is angled so that your fingers are pointed out and to the left, at roughly the ten o'clock position. Your right shoulder, elbow, and wrist should be in a straight line. Inhale fully, sitting tall. As you exhale, press down with your right hand. Tighten your abdominals and core. You should feel this contraction in a diagonal line from your left hip to your right shoulder. Press down as you exhale for a count of eight. When you have finished, switch sides. This time, the foam handle is on your right thigh, and is stabilized with your right hand. Place your left hand on the top handle. Your left hand is not straight on the foam, but is angled so that your fingers are pointed out and to the right at roughly the two o'clock position. Your left wrist, elbow, and shoulder should be in a straight line. Inhale. As you exhale, press down with eight pulses, tightening your core, and feeling the contraction from your right hip to your left shoulder. If you are not able to breathe out for a count of eight, you can breathe in for one pulse, and out on the next one. You may feel like you are hyperventillating by taking small frequent breaths, and the longer Pilates breath is ideal. You can use the smaller breaths to build up if you like.

13 - Final Thoughts

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Text Description: Some of the exercises in this workout may seem difficult or frustrating. Still, it is important because it creates synergies between muscles, bones, reactions, consciousness, awareness and neural pathways in our brains. Particularly as we get older, our brains can continue to create new pathways, and we can help that to happen. If you concentrate on the breathing for awhile, and the movements for awhile, you will be able to combine them. Your lung capacity will increase, brain fog will decrease, your muscle tone, confidence, strength, and balance will increase. It's not about getting there fast, but about taking it slowly, and incorporating one piece at a time. Allow yourself to be conscious of what your body is doing. Having this level of consciousness will make seeing and feeling the results that much easier.

Recommended Accessories

If you already have weights, a stability ball, or the other needed accessories for the workouts that interest you, there is no reason why you can’t use them. However, if you’re just starting out, and you’re not sure what to get, we provide this list as a helpful reference. All accessories have been tested by at least one member of the BlindAlive team.

Related Blogs and Podcasts

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