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David Edgington and Dean Chester are two Deaf men aiming to get people fit. They tell us about their work below.
The only major impact that being deaf has on me is the communication barrier, so yes, it impacts my daily life every day but I’m used to it and it’s becoming normal daily life.
The most important key factor when engaging with clients in the gym is to relax, be my true self and be professional. It’s all about breaking the ice and helping clients to feel relaxed and be on a more comfortable level with me.
I’m trying to motivate them more than ever, but there is a long way to overcome that barrier. I hope that the deaf community will have a better and healthier future,
People don’t come across meeting deaf people every day but people in the gym are starting to recognise me better and accepting me for who I am, which is really wonderful feeling that I’m part of that world.
I set up “The Deaf Gym” on Facebook in 2014 with another deaf personal trainer, Dean Chester, who works at Xercise4Less, like me. The group was set up to provide support to the Deaf community and now has almost 2,000 members with more people joining every day.
There are 900,000 people that are severely and profoundly deaf in the UK. They aren’t getting enough access to exercise because they use British Sign Language as their first language. This is one of the reasons deaf people have a high percentage of problems with both their mental health and physical health and I want to change that by eliminating the barriers of going to the gym.
My disability impacted on my everyday life significantly. Not only was I overweight, but I was also extremely low on confidence.
I’ve always been into fitness and nutrition, and wanted to keep fit. I was disappointed with myself for letting my health slide.
Joining the gym completely changed my life. It helped me to build up my confidence and lose weight. Not only that, but it really opened up new doors for me, allowing me to engage with the ‘hearing community’ so much more.
I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to put my degree to use, and prove to other deaf individuals that anything is possible with the right mind-set.
I often use body language and demonstration more than communicating verbally. Sometimes I’ll even use a note to show my client things. It hasn’t been easy as my first language is BSL (British Sign Language) and my second language is English, but my disability has honestly not really been a problem.
Many deaf people fall into the trap where they find themselves staying in all the time, not confident enough to join a gym with hearing people. I want to change that.
I believe they’ll be more confident if they have access to a deaf personal trainer, helping them to connect with the wider community more.
With these initiatives I hope to make exercise easily accessible to all deaf people, by passing on my advice and top tips.
I hope to continue pushing my business initiatives to help provide deaf people with equal opportunities in life.
The Limping Chicken is the world's most popular Deaf blog, and is edited by Deaf journalist and filmmaker Charlie Swinbourne.
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