The Trouble in Exercising
Last updated: August 2019
Like many people, I decided to start a workout regimen at the beginning of the 2019. The goal was to commit to going to the gym three days a week, for 30 minutes and doing some cardio. My plan was to keep it simple and work it into my schedule prior to going to work.
Being vulnerable enough to ask for help at the gym
Around the time of setting this goal, I was at a point in my life where I had begun to feel much more confident sharing when I need assistance. Therefore, on my first day at the gym, I shared with the gym staff that I was visually impaired and this was my first time using most of the equipment. I requested a step-by-step tutorial on how to use each piece of equipment. The gym staff assisted and were very friendly throughout the process. I felt proud of myself for being vulnerable enough to ask for help rather than let pride get in the way and as a result either struggle to figure out the equipment or even risk injury.
Struggling to see the fitness instructor
In addition to working out alone, every once in a while I participate in a group exercise class with a friend. To be honest group workout classes are my least favorite because I have no rhythm. As any normal person would do who lacks rhythm skills, I try to stay closer to the back so that no one can see me. However, this is obviously problematic because I struggle with seeing the instructor if I’m too far away. Realistically in order for me to see exactly what the instructor is doing I need to be at most 20 feet away which basically means I need to be front row—as you can see this is quite the predicament.
Should I share about my vision impairment?
Recently I went to a workout class and the instructor was signaling me to move a certain way. I could not make out exactly what she was doing and I felt she thought that I wasn’t paying attention even though I was completely focused and I just struggled to stay on beat and position my body properly. After the class was over I contemplated sharing with the instructor about my visual impairment. Ultimately, I decided not to in the moment. Although uncomfortable and awkward I would like to attend group workout classes periodically in the future.
Addressing concerns about exercising with Stargardt's
I reflected on my experiences and ways to address some of the concerns that came up. I have decided that next time I will inform the instructor prior to the beginning of class about my visual impairment and discuss possible accommodations. Although uncomfortable and low-key awkward for me, I can stand closer to the instructor. Lastly, I can look into smaller class sizes or even a personal session. The good thing is that despite all of these feelings, I continue to sweat and burn calories which is the whole point of me going to the gym after all... at least that’s the way eye see it.
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