The Importance of Adaptive Equipment in Recreation Areas
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in four U.S. adults have a disability that has an impact on their major life activities. That's 61 million American adults, with the most common disability type being mobility, which affects one in seven adults. Disability becomes more common as people age, and two out of five adults age 65 and older are dealing with disability.
The high prevalence of disabilities means adaptive equipment is crucial for recreation facilities, from aquatics to fitness and beyond.
Everyone Into the Pool
Aquatic facilities can provide many benefits to people with disabilities. Exercise in the water removes the pressure from joints, and can help improve physical and mental health.
ADA guidelines have established minimum requirements for pools, including means of entry, but if you want to serve your community well, you'll go beyond the guidelines to ensure you are providing adaptive equipment to get people of varying abilities into the pool.
Keep a pool lift at poolside and ready for use any time your pool is open for business. The lift should be in good working order, and a staff member who understands how to use it should always be on hand to help visitors when needed.
Pool access chairs are another option for helping those with mobility-related disabilities get in and out of the water. Be sure you look for chairs designed for an aquatic environment. They should be lightweight, durable and able to resist corrosion.
Fitness for All
In addition to making sure your aquatic environment is as accessible as possible for those with mobility issues, you should also be sure your fitness programs are taking the needs of those with disabilities into account.
The aquatic environment provides an ideal venue for fitness, removing strain from joints. Exercise classes in the pool might be welcome to those who struggle to exercise on land.
You also might consider providing underwater fitness equipment, such as stationary bikes designed specifically for an aquatic environment.
And don't forget your land-based activities! Be sure your fitness facility includes equipment that can be accessed by all users, including equipment designed specifically for those with mobility issues.
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