I have a confession to make: up until recently, I didn’t do any exercise. I knew it was good for me, I knew that regular exercise results in a range of physical, mental and social benefits, both short- and long-term, and that exercising is likely to increase not only your lifespan but also the quality of the life you lead. But I was just too lazy. It seemed like such an effort to get started on anything- it all looked so tiring and difficult.
The barriers facing vision impaired people are of course often far greater than just a natural predisposition towards perpetual laziness. Many sports in their original forms aren’t necessary suitable for someone with low vision, and many sports centres or coaches who haven’t had much interaction with VI people in the past are often unsure of how best to adapt their activities to make them more accessible. Thus, vision impaired people who are as of yet unfamiliar with the sporting world not only have to muster up the mental willpower and physical energy to try a new sport, but they need to take that extra time to ensure that their chosen sport is going to be accessible for them.
However, for any VI people out there who are as lazy as me and think that this gives them a great excuse to not exercise, I’m afraid that I’m going to disappoint you! Improving access to sporting activities is a key part of the services that ELVis provides, and to this end we have already this year provided our service users with the opportunities to undertake a variety of sporting activities. From park walks in Hackney to yoga and dance in Barking and Dagenham, and from bowls in Waltham Forest to a multi-sports day in Havering, where people took part in various activities from athletics to rock climbing. Gentle exercise for those looking for a relaxing session as well as more physically challenging activities for those wanting to work up a sweat, we’ve had it all covered!
And there’s more still to come! Over the course of the next year we will be working with our partners Metro Blind Sport (who, of course, are also pivotal in providing accessible sporting activities to vision impaired people across London) to provide a series of one-off ‘unusual’ sporting activities for vision impaired people. These are going to be exciting opportunities for people to try things they might not have had the chance to do before, so watch this space for more information!
So, luckily, there are many opportunities out there for vision impaired people to get active and get fit, and if you would like any more information then please get in touch with us or the aforementioned Metro Blind Sport (http://www.metroblindsport.org/).
And me? I can now say that I am a regular rock-climber. It’s very good fun, and well-worth all the physical exertion! If even a hopelessly lazy chocoholic like me can find a sport to enjoy, then there should be no stopping anyone else!