Eyes-Free Fitness: Described Workouts for the Blind and Visually Impaired

The Eyes-Free Fitness app contains both free and paid exercise routines described specifically for the blind.

Introduction

The holidays are a wonderful time of year. But as we all know, no matter what holiday you are celebrating there will be food. And lots of it. Everything from latkes to black eyed peas to fruitcake and maybe some figgy pudding tossed in for good measure.

And if you live in an area where it gets cold and snowy, you aren't exactly motivated to go for an evening walk in that “winter wonderland”.

A new app may help you keep the winter weight at bay and is great for blind and visually impaired individuals at any level of fitness.

Eyes-Free Fitness is a new app, by BlindAlive.  The company, according to the website, has been around for a few years and has only recently ventured into dabbling in apps.  And from what we’ve seen so far, it’s been quite a success!

App Layout and Setup

Screenshot from Eyes-Free Fitness app: Home screen tool bar with Workouts, Podcast, Blog and About Tabs.The Eyes-Free Fitness App is easy to locate and download from the App Store.  It is also very simple to navigate with VoiceOver as well as for low vision users.  The app supports dynamic font so low vision users who have enlarged font enabled on their devices will be able to access the menus in their prefered print size.  

When first opening the app, you are directed to the home screen.  This is where your downloaded workouts will be.  Along the bottom are a row of tabs that allow you to access podcasts, the developer’s blog, and settings (which is labeled “about”).  Since the first two tabs are rather self-explanatory, we’ll skip over those and go right into the “about” tab.  

Screenshot of Eyes-Free Fitness app: Medical disclaimer page.Before you can download a workout, the app will prompt you to agree to a medical disclaimer.  If you are prompted and double tap on “OK”, you will be taken to the “about” tab and given the opportunity to agree at that point.  If not, you will need to navigate to the “about” tab and find the disclaimer on your own. You are presented with two buttons.  Obviously, if you want to continue using the app, you will need to agree.  

Once you have agreed to the medical disclaimer, you will be allowed access to the workouts, some of which are free.  To download a free workout, first navigate to your home screen and find the “get more workouts” link.  There will be a list of workout in different categories.  There are some free ones while others cost.  Most packages are $19.99, but there is some variation.  

 

Workout Types and Descriptions

Screenshot of Eyes-Free Fitness App: page with list of worksoutsOnce you have chosen a workout you wish to download, it is a very simple process.  You will have to enter your password or scan your fingerprint if you have that function enabled on your phone.  At that time, your download will begin and if applicable, your iTunes account will be charged.  

The three free workouts that are available are Morning Stretch, Evening Stretch, and Guided Meditation.  These give you a good feel for how the other workouts are organized.  

There are a greater variety of paid workouts including different types of Yoga, Pilates, Cardio, Balance/Strengthening, and weight lifting.  Each workout has several sessions, some of which are free previews to help you decide whether you wish to purchase the whole package.  

All workouts are described quite well.  Not only are there samples in the app, but BlindAlive has a YouTube channel as well where you can hear a mini-workout sample.  

Playing the Workouts

Screenshot of Eyes-Free Fitness: Workout screen. Once you have chosen the downloaded workout you wish to play, a screen becomes available to you that allows you to play/pause, rewind, fast forward, and adjust the volume.  It also allows you to see how much time is left in the workout and how much of the workout has elapsed.  

Impressions and Final Thoughts

The fact that this app is completely voiceover accessible is a no-brainer given the intended audience.  It is easy to navigate and very intuitive.  Also as previously mentioned, it is compatible with your dynamic font settings so large print is available for those who use it.  

The one issue that I had consistently is the app’s tendency to randomly crash.  There does not seem to be any sort of rhyme or reason for this, it just closes.  I’m sure there will be a bug fix addressing this in the future.  But it is a good thing to be aware of going in  

If nothing else, it is certainly worth trying the free workouts and if you decide that you want to purchase other available workouts, they are very easy to access and cost right about as much as a DVD would cost at your local Walmart or Target.  

So if you’re looking to get into shape or even just work off those Christmas cookies, this app is certainly worth a try.  

 

 

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