Just for a minute, I would like for you to think about exercise. In particular, think about the different ways that people often exercise. I imagine that among the things that came to your mind was going to a gym, jogging, biking and possibly even rollerblading or hiking. All of those are great ways to get off of the couch and get moving. Now, imagine doing any of those as a blind person. These everyday methods of fitness would fall somewhere between dangerous to impossible for a person with vision impairments.
I do not have to imagine what that is like as I have tried just about all of them. Running into unseen weight bars and tripping over treadmills at a gym are particularly painful and embarrassing memories. Now, you might suggest that these could just about all be done with a training partner and you would be correct. But, that is kind of the point of this post. If I have to depend on my lovely, patient wife, kids or friends to exercise, then there is no sense of independence or empowerment. Having to hold an elbow or hand just to avoid falling off a path and twisting an ankle tends to make even walking at the park, less appealing. After 46 years, I have come to realize that just about any type of barrier to doing exercise will make it likely that I won’t do it. I don’t think I am alone in that.
So, one day I just had enough of not being fit and blaming it on my lack of vision. I figured that there had to be something that I could do, on my own, to start moving the needle back towards being physically fit and lowering the numbers on the scale. Somewhere in that process, I came up with the idea to purchase an indoor, stationary bike and pair it with my iPad Pro (the big one, 12.9 inch display) for instruction via the Peloton Digital app. This setup would allow me to get up early, without disturbing anyone, and get a ride in, all on my own. Well, almost on my own as I would be riding along with an instructor and the larger Peloton community, virtually.
So that is what I did. I purchased a Sunny Health and Fitness Synergy indoor bike after doing a ton of research. This would give me many of the features of much more expensive models, such as the Echelon, NordicTrac or Peloton, at about a quarter of the price. After it arrived, my 13-year-old son put it together for me. I added a cadence sensor to track how fast I pedal and a heart rate monitor, both of which communicate with the Peloton app, helping me to keep track of my pace, etc.
I have been using this setup now for almost 4 weeks and it has been a great success. I have done 14 rides and feel so much more in control of my own physical fitness. It is just so very liberating to finally feel in control of that area of my life. Now, if I could just figure out a way to drive. Self-driving cars can’t get here soon enough