Physical Fitness for Visually Impaired | Guide To Accessible Fitness Tech

Fitness

Last modified: 12th February 2019

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Exercising and keeping fit can prove challenging for blind and partially sighted people. Fortunately, this situation is improving as tech companies are increasingly investing in the development of health and fitness products. Here are some examples of accessible fitness tech.

 

Specialist products

Talking pedometers like this talking pedometer from Cobolt can help keep track of your steps.

RNIB sell a variety of accessible balls that can be located via audio cues such as bells. They offer balls suitable for playing football, rugby, basketball, goalball, cricket, etc.

If you’re looking for ways to improve your fitness, the US-based and donation-supported BlindAlive website offers a comprehensive selection of free fitness programmes for download. These programmes have been specially tailored for blind and partially sighted people to include detailed descriptions for all exercises and routines.

Parkrun and Sport England have an ongoing project to team up blind and partially sighted joggers with sighted volunteer running guides, check out this announcement from Park Run and Sport England for more details.

Using your smartphone

Smartwatches can be useful when it comes to looking after yourself and maintaining fitness. They can be used as pedometers or to monitor cardio information as you exercise. The latest Apple Watch synchronises data with GymKit-enabled equipment such as treadmills and exercise bikes. The most advanced smartwatches have sophisticated accessibility features, check out our Watches section for more information on these products.

Fitbit devices go around the wrist and can be used to monitor all sorts of health and fitness data. They track activities like exercise and sleep: connecting with an accompanying mobile app to organise and present the information. The devices display may not have text to speech working yet, however the app is currently accessible on Apple iOS and Android devices.

Many smartphones have health and fitness apps built in as standard for example, Apple Health or Samsung Health. Other apps can be downloaded as required. Try searching for “pedometer” in your App or Play store for a range of options.  There are also apps that can track your food and calorie intake such as MyFitnessPal.

Handy hints

The Amazon Alexa digital assistant can also help with getting in shape and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The My Workouts Alexa Skill is one of several skills which enable the assistant to describe a range of exercise routines with clear verbal instructions.

Useful links

Cobolt

RNIB