The Assessment of the Quality of Life in Visually Impaired People with Different Level of Physical Activity

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Quality of life (QOL) is associated with factors such as health, physical functioning, life satisfaction, a sense of happiness, and others. In case of disabled people, much attention is paid to their QOL rather than only the improvement of physiological variables. In a group of blind and visually impaired people, the effect of physical activity (PA) on the socialization process, the ability to explore own personality traits, developing creativity, and more motivation and desire to overcome the difficulties associated with visual impairment were observed.

The study involved 53 people: visually impaired (NT) sedentary lifestyle people (n=18; 51±12 years) and visually impaired tandem cycling athletes (N) (n=17; 42±13 years). Properly sighted people (P) (n=18; 38±12 years) were partners in tandem with visually impaired athletes. To determine the level of PA, the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) was used. The WHO-Quality of Life (WHO-QOL-BREF), the National Eye Institute 25-item Visual Functioning Questionnaire (NEI VFQ-25, version 2000), and the Retina AMD Poland Association questionnaire were used to assess QOL.

In visually impaired athletes, significantly greater PA with moderate intensity, moving by bike, and energy expenditure for vigorous recreational exercise and sport in leisuretime was found. Sedentary lifestyle people mainly participated in moderate physical activity around the house. Significant greater satisfaction with health was observed in the case of visually impaired athletes in comparison with NT. All disabled groups rarely had negative feelings such as despair, depression, and anxiety.

Moderate correlations between variables according to physical activity and quality of life in all participants were observed. The meaningfulness of life and life satisfaction also depended on cycling training and moderate physical activity around the house. The obtained data indicate that all available forms of regular PA in visually impaired people could have a beneficial effect on their quality of life.

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