Fighting vision loss, fitness instructor keeps body—and mind—in shape


Joan Creviston

JOAN Creviston was an interior designer for 12 years before retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic eye disease that leads to tunnel vision and sometimes complete blindness, forced her to make a full-time career out of her longtime love: fitness instruction.

Creviston, of Aurora, Illinois, is a master-level personal trainer and group exercise instructor who also offers coaching and videos through her website. In addition to starting the new year with a vow to lose 10 pounds in six weeks—“I’ve joined the resolutionists,” she says-she signed up for the free reading program of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS).

NLS has been producing and circulating audiobooks and braille books for more than 80 years. Books, and the digital equipment needed to read them, are available through a national network of cooperating libraries. Thousands of titles are also available online through the NLS Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) service.

“For my personal fun I read about fitness,” Creviston says. Motivational writer Og Mandino is her favorite author—“He’s so positive, so uplifting, so simple”—but she also enjoys lighter fare by talk-show host Chelsea Handler.

Creviston is sold on the benefits of exercise for people with disabilities. “Physical challenges can be depressing, but increasing the body’s movement and firing up the chemicals in the brain can make people more energetic and feel less down,” she says. “It gives them a little more of a can-do attitude.”

The NLS collection includes dozens of titles on fitness and self-improvement, from authors such as Mandino and Dale Carnegie to more recent books by Deepak Chopra, Wayne W. Dyer and Oprah Winfrey’s go-to trainer, Bob Greene.

For those who are blind, have low vision or cannot hold a book or turn its pages because of a physical disability are eligible for the NLS program. Audiobooks and braille books are delivered and returned by mail, postage free, and through BARD.

For more information or to request an application, visit North American Precis Syndicate, Inc.


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