People with blindness and visual impairments have reduced access to exercise compared to the general population during typical societal functioning. The Coronavirus-19 pandemic completely disrupted daily life for most individuals worldwide, and in the United Kingdom, a stay-at-home order was enforced. One of the sole reasons an individual could leave their home was for the purpose of daily exercise. Here, we examined how the UK national lockdown impacted access to exercise for people with blindness and visual impairment. We used a mixed methods design, collecting quantitative data from two established measures (the Exercise Barriers and Benefits Scale and the International Physical Activity Questionnaire), and qualitative data from open-ended questions. We found that, during the initial stages of the lockdown, perceived barriers to exercise increased compared to pre-pandemic levels, driven by factors, such as the closure of exercise facilities and additional difficulties posed by social distancing. Interestingly, during the later stages of the UK Coronavirus-19 response, perceived barriers decreased to lower than pre-pandemic levels. Thematic analysis indicated that this may have been due to participants finding new online methods to exercise at home, in combination with the tentative reopening of facilities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)448-463
JournalBritish Journal of Visual Impairment
Issue number2
Early online date7 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2023


  • Blindness
  • Coronavirus-19
  • Exercise Barriers
  • exercise participation
  • partially sighted

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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