The ADA requires that retail facilities, including health clubs and YMCAs, provide disability accommodations, giving everyone the same opportunity to access equipment and exercise. Whether you own or manage a fitness center or are in the market for your own fitness equipment, there are some valuable adaptive equipment options to consider.
People with limited hand function or grip strength, particularly from paralysis or arthritis, can invest in gripping gloves for almost any sport or activity. In fitness centers, gripping gloves are useful for weightlifting or elliptical machines, or can also be of use in other activities such as rowing, cooking, pushing a cart or a stroller, and much more. They can also be used for pushing a wheelchair in a sport like basketball, where the wheelchair must be turned and moved quickly. This simple tool gives its users the freedom to partake in ordinary everyday activities or the accessibility to participate in sports and fitness.
ADA compliant pool lifts are required in fitness centers that have a pool or spa. They can be portable or fixed, although portable pool lifts must be equipped with temporary bolts to station them in place. Lifts can also be useful for people with disabilities in their own swimming pools. These devices come equipped with safety belts and foot rests, and give people with disabilities the same access to swimming pools as everyone else.
Cycling is a physically taxing exercise but the end result is truly rewarding. The chair cycle is a suitable device for those in wheelchairs or limited leg function. A portable cycling machine without the seat attached gives an open space for a chair or wheelchair rather than a common bicycle seat to allow accessibility for the disabled. These devices are recommended for spin classes or in conventional work out rooms.
Along with the chair cycle, the hand cycle is just as adaptive for those with limited leg function. A stationary hand cycle at a fitness center can be used while sitting in a wheelchair, or one can invest in a hand bicycle (known as a handcycle or hand bike) or racing wheelchair, both of which require the sole use of one’s hands and arms to operate. Most handcycles are built as a tricycle, some with various styles in wheels to adapt to the terrain outdoors.
Fitness and activities should be accessible to everyone, so consider investing in fitness equipment that is fun and right for you.