November 6, 2020
This past Monday, British Blind Sport (BBS) launched new series of virtual classes for the visually impaired with the aim to increase their physical activity, positively affecting their mental health and reducing feelings of isolation.
As with many other sport and physical activity providers, the Coronavirus pandemic has encouraged British Blind Sport, the National Disability Sports Organisation for people with visual impairments, to adapt its delivery of services and explore the world of audio-led, virtual exercise classes specifically for people living with sight loss.
Since the first UK lockdown in March, BBS has been running weekly “Workout Wednesday” classes, offering members and service users free and live audio-led classes to join in before or after work. These were accompanied by pre-recorded exercise videos from the different instructors so that service users could take part whenever they could fit it in their schedule.
BBS has since decied to change their programme to something with more flexibility and permanence. Rather than have one workout per week, BBS will now run a live workout week at the beginning of each month with a different inclusive class each night from Monday to Friday at 6pm.
Following these live workouts, BBS will release “follow-up” exercise sessions for each different class so that participants can improve and build on their performance throughout the month – until the next live workout week.
One participant said, “I’m finding these workouts fantastic! Currently, self-isolating and can’t get out to walk or run. These workouts are keeping me sane!”
BBS think this new programme will provide more structure to the online workout series, with the pre-recorded follow-up sessions allowing participants to take part whenever they have time and motivating them to progress in their chosen classes.
Another participant said, “It’s nice to do exercise alongside other people (even virtually!) and have very motivating instructors who speak to the participants and correct our positions. It’s a great idea!”
National Partnerships Manager, Alex, said “This programme has given us a platform through which we can tackle the increased isolation that people with disabilities are facing during social distancing. Connecting with people, even virtually, is so important for good mental health and if we can help people come together through exercise then we deem it a success!”
The programme has a Facebook group which you can request to join here.