Fitness key to confidence
Keeping fit is an important part of life for Steven. In his 50s, he has a visual impairment which has deteriorated and made it harder for him to keep fit.
He discussed what was happening with his Local Area Coordinator (LAC) and together they worked out a plan so Steven could still enjoy going for runs. The first objective was to find someone who could go with him, so they placed an advertisement for a running buddy. Two women from a local running club responded and volunteered to be his guide.
“It was great news as it meant I could run different routes and go further,” he says.
Next on the agenda was an initial trial run with each guide, meeting at a local running track where they could safely get used to running with a string linking them together.
Each woman now runs with Steven once a week – and a third person has put their hand up to be another running buddy.
“It’s wonderful to run with these guides. We do road running because the tracks are flat and there aren’t too many obstacles in the way.”
Steven says he lost a lot of his confidence three years ago when his sight deteriorated and he had to find his way around with a walking stick. Now he walks a few blocks and then takes the bus to the gym three times a week, where he enjoys body building and weight lifting. Both give him confidence and help when he’s feeling frustrated and struggling with the idea of losing more of his eyesight.
“I’m feeling a lot stronger. I believe in myself and I can do it. I want to live my own life.”
He’s recently been enjoying running in the early morning around the Mount Maunganui beach front.
At the time of writing, Steven and his LAC were looking at how Steven could use a tandem cycle available through the Blind Foundation. “It sounds like lots of fun. I love the thought of biking – freedom, fresh air and keeping fit at the same time,” Steven says.
Another idea is to try swimming. “It’s good to know that my LAC is there so we can discuss other ways of continuing on this path of keeping fit – it’s a huge part of my life,” says Steven.
“Someone to bounce ideas off” is just one reason Alison enjoys working with her son’s Local Area Coordinator (LAC).
“My LAC has helped me and my daughter improve ourselves. We just needed the initial help to get started.”