We all know the importance of exercise, but what we may not be aware of are the increased benefits of exercising outdoors. With spring on the way, it is important to start heading out. Direct sunlight on the skin enables the body to create vitamin D, which is important for bone and muscle health, as well as regulating our mood and sleep. While sun on the skin can do us some good, it’s important to always take precautions to prevent sun damage!
Studies have also shown that exercising outdoors can lower our blood pressure and heart rate, making it feel less strenuous than similar activity indoors. Added to that, natural environments have been linked to feelings of revitalization and a decrease in feelings of tension, anger, and depression.
So, how can someone in the deafblind community get out to enjoy these benefits?
Having limited sight and or hearing does not have to be an obstacle when exercising; in 2019, we wrote about 60 year old Helen who ran the 10km Great Manchester Run using a guide runner.
If you’re eager to get out running with a guide, British Blind Sport and England Athletics have created the Find a Guide database, filled with DBS checked guide runners who have all attended a Sight Loss Awareness and Guide Running workshop. This is can be accessed on the Run Together website, just input your postcode to find guide runners in your area.
If walking is more your speed, Ramblers has routes designed with blind and partially sighted people in mind; these routes may be easier to navigate and include sensory scenery. Some local Ramblers groups organise walks specifically for blind and partially sighted people, so it may be worth contacting your local Rambling group to ask! You can find the details of local groups and routes here.
The Sightline directory is also a handy website for information on a variety of resources, including sports and social clubs, for partially sighted and blind people.
The NHS also has a list of organisations and accessible sports clubs for all types of disabilities, including sight and hearing impairments.
So, head on out to reap the benefits of the great outdoors, you might be able to make some new friends along the way!