Five ways to exercise when you have a visual impairment

Henshaws Enablement team leader, Lisa Young, shares her five top tips for exercising with a visual impairment.

Lisa Young, has been delivering Henshaws exercises classes over the past two years and is qualified to deliver exercise to people who are visually impaired.

The classes are tailored for people with a visual impairment and are aimed at all levels of fitness.

Lisa shares her top five tips to exercise safely and effectively when you have a visual impairment:

  1. Hold onto the back of the chair to help with spacial awareness.
  2. Clear the exercise space/ area – ensure there are no slippery floors.
  3. Leave plenty of room so that you don’t bump into walls.
  4. Make sure you are wearing practical and comfortable attire.
  5. Work to your own pace. Specialist classes are adapted for various fitness levels; e.g. you can walk on the spot, take larger steps or jump up and down.

It is sensible to start small and work your way up once you become fitter and more familiar with the routines. Don’t forget to take a bottle of water along to your exercise class to keep well hydrated and eat a light meal, ideally at least two hours before you exercise.

Service user at exercise class

Join one of our exercise classes

Our popular exercise classes are designed for people experiencing sight loss. Benefits include increased mobility, fitness and confidence as well as providing the opportunity to socialise and meet people. You can work at your own pace and the classes are designed for all fitness levels.

We have recently launched a range of new classes across Manchester as part of our Pathway to Wellbeing project, details are below:

  • Salford Every Monday 1.30-3pm at Pendleton Gateway (M6 5FX)
  • Wythenshawe – Every Friday 1.30-3pm at Wythenshawe Forum (M22 5RX)
  • Harpurhey – Every Monday, 1.30-3pm at North City Family and Fitness Centre (M9 4DA)
  • Old Trafford – Every Thursday, 10.30am-12pm at Atherton House (M16 0GS)

Coming soon to Oldham!

We also run fitness and exercise classes at our Liverpool and Newcastle centres. Contact your nearest centre for more details.


Find out how Henshaws service users have benefited from our exercise classes.

“I feel like I’ve got a spring back in my step. After completing the exercise course I had the confidence to walk a mile for the tram. Something I wouldn’t have dreamt of doing before.” – Brenda

“Henshaws exercise classes are great fun and I’ve met some great new friends – it gives me something to look forward to each week.” – George

“I’m getting much fitter and healthier and have been losing weight. I feel fantastic!” – Philippa 

“I’ve definitely felt myself becoming fitter, more flexible and most importantly more confident since joining the classes and they’ve inspired me to keep the exercises up at home (the ladies provide us with a CD containing all the exercises so we can keep practicing them at home!)” – Sylvia

“One of the biggest benefits for me is finding support and friendship through the sessions. It’s inspiring to meet someone who has faced the same difficulties and still manages to enjoy life.” – Kathleen

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Kathleen and Sylvia from our over 50s exercise class

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Henshaws rely on voluntary donations; our work just wouldn’t be possible without people like you. Your support empowers local people living with sight loss and a range of other disabilities to increase their independence, achieve their dreams, and go beyond expectations.

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Sabine is a Marketing Officer at Henshaws and is responsible for all marketing and communications activity for community services across Manchester, Liverpool and Newcastle.
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