The other day, one of my friends was asking me about how to find accessible exercise videos for people with sight loss. They were telling me about a specific experience where they were trying to follow along with a workout video on YouTube where the trainer was saying phrases such as “move this way” or “stretch your leg that way,” which can be confusing for people with low vision or blindness. One of the resources I shared with them is the Eyes Free Fitness recordings from BlindAlive, and today I will be sharing my thoughts on the product.
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Nothing in this site or related downloads should be construed as personal advice or diagnosis, and must not be used in this manner. The information provided about conditions is general in nature. This information does not cover all possible uses, actions, precautions, side-effects, or interactions of medicines, or medical procedures. The information in this site should not be considered as complete and does not cover all diseases, ailments, physical conditions, or their treatment.
You should consult with your physician before beginning any exercise or health care program. Under no circumstances should this site substitute for a call or visit to a competent health-care professional. You should consult a health care professional before adopting any of the suggestions in this site or before drawing inferences from it.
Any decision regarding treatment and medication for your condition should be made with the advice and consultation of a qualified health care professional. If you have, or suspect you have, a health-care problem, then you should immediately contact a qualified health care professional for treatment.
What is Eyes Free Fitness?
Eyes Free Fitness is a free series of audio-based workout guides that are designed for people with vision loss to exercise in their homes on their own schedule. The workouts are designed for beginner/intermediate level users, with themes such as yoga, pilates, sculpting, and stretching. It’s similar to an exercise video, except there are no visuals involved. Workouts can be downloaded online or accessed through YouTube.
How to download Eyes Free Fitness recordings
To download recordings of Eyes Free Fitness workouts, follow these instructions:
- Go to the BlindAlive website (linked below)
- Click on the link for the workout you want to download. This will open a new tab in your browser with a Dropbox link
- Click the download button, followed by “direct download”- no Dropbox account needed
- The workout recordings will download as a .zip file which contains the .mp3 files and can be unzipped and/or copied to the location of your choice.
Each .zip file contains at least three different audio workouts.
- Eyes Free Fitness downloads
- How I Organize Digital Files For My Classes
- Common File Types For Vision Impairment and Print Disabilities
Do I need to buy anything special?
Some exercises require equipment such as weights, exercise balls, foam rollers, and yoga mats. There are also workouts that do not require any specialized equipment at all. The exact materials needed vary from workout to workout, but can easily be purchased online or in the exercise aisle of a local store.
There are a few different options for playing Eyes Free Fitness audio workouts. Here are some of my favorite ideas that I’ve tested:
- Downloading the mp3 files to my iPod or other device
- Play mp3 files using Amazon Echo Dot as a wireless speaker
- Ask Cortana to play each audio track
- Listen to a workout on my computer
- Pull up the videos on the YouTube mobile apps
- Broadcast the video to my TV using Chromecast
What are the workouts like?
Each workout is about 20 minutes long and can be sped up/slowed down, paused, or stopped at any time, depending on your audio player settings. They feature a real human voice (the voice being Mel Scott, the creator of Eyes Free Fitness) that speaks at an easy-to-understand pace, and each exercise is thoroughly described so that the user can follow along on their own.
Some potential uses for Eyes Free Fitness audio workouts include:
- As a component of adaptive gym/adaptive PE classes
- Use in conjunction with other exercises
- Group activity for multiple people
- A way to start/end the day with exercise from the comfort of a familiar place
- As an alternative to exercise videos
For people with visual impairments who want to/enjoy exercise, Eyes Free Fitness can provide a great way to stay in shape with easily accessible workouts. I love using the stretch series and modify exercises as needed for my Chiari Malformation, and have been very pleased with the quality of the recordings. I hope that others will enjoy the Eyes Free Fitness recordings from BlindAlive as much as I have!