Magnifeyed Living Find your Fit Write-up

The Magnifeyed Living Series, sponsored by Ensight Skills Center and Weld County Area Agency on Aging, brought Jessica Beecham of We Fit Wellness to the Greeley Senior Center on Wednesday to discuss staying active when you’ve lost some or all of your vision.

The US is the most obese country in the world with an obesity rate ranging from 30-35% according to various studies, and people with disabilities are twice as likely to be obese than people without. Apps with voice recognition are available to calculate BMI, Body Mass Index. It is calculated by relating your height and weight to each other.

Some basic guidelines on how to best maintain a healthy BMI have been put forward. The surgeon general recommends that to be healthy one should be active for 30 minutes a day for 5 days and the American Heart Association has recommended people take at least 10,000 steps everyday to reduce the risk of heart disease.

But there are ways to do this easily. Jessica showed us how balancing on each leg for 1 minute is equivalent to 40 minutes of walking. She also showed us an easy way to do strength training by placing a chair behind yourself, and squatting into it until just before you are sitting and returning to a standing position.

A picture of Jessica and one spectator practicing squatting into chairs to strengthen their legs
Jessica demonstrates how to do strength training with only a chair

Jessica also addressed some of the challenges that keep people from exercising ranging from weather to being nervous at the gym. For example, she has a routine she can do from home in case she isn’t able to get out and run.

When she does go to the gym, she has someone from the gym accompany on her first (usually complimentary) visit and show her all the equipment. When a machine has a flatscreen control display, she asks them to place scotch tape on the most important controls and mark them in a more distinctive way. It is also important to know the weight increment of the machines, so generally she marks the lowest setting and learns which setting is best for her (“the fifth click is the weight I work on,” etc).

Running can be a scary prospect for someone who has lost or is losing their vision. Jessica runs with a longer cane which she uses the same way as when she is walking. She also recommends running with a guide, either on a tether or following them (if your vision permits). Most dogs however are not trained as running guides and should not be used for this purpose.

In conclusion, if you are losing or have lost your vision, you can still stay fit and keep yourself healthy, with a few adaptations!