Inclusion in Rec Facilities
Increasing engagement is a common goal for recreation facilities, but you may not realize how you are actively limiting access to your offerings. The solution is to ensure you are providing equitable, inclusive experiences for people of all abilities by adding more adaptive programming that is accessible to a wider range of abilities, and adaptive equipment that can provide a way for everyone to take part in your offerings.
Q. How can we ensure our aquatic facilities are more inclusive?
A. Being in the water takes the pressure off joints, making it the ideal venue for both people with disabilities as well as older patrons and patrons recovering from injury. Making sure everyone can access the water without struggle is essential to ensuring your aquatic programs are truly inclusive.
Minimum requirements for pools established by ADA guidelines include providing a means of entry. To go one step further to provide true inclusion, consider the many types of abilities that will require access. A pool lift should be kept at the poolside, ready for use any time your pool is open. Look for pool lifts that are user-friendly and be sure a staff member is always available to help visitors who need assistance.
In addition, consider the other unique ways in which people with different mobility-related disabilities might experience your facility. For example, if you have a marina, you should consider installing a lift there as well, to help people with disabilities get from the dock to a boat.
Q. Is there a way to provide more inclusive fitness activities?
A. Exercise classes that take place in the water will be welcome to community members who find it difficult to work out on dry land. Underwater exercise equipment, designed specifically for the aquatic environment, is another way to make fitness more inclusive. Look for equipment like stationary bikes and treadmills designed specifically for use in aquatic environments.
In your fitness facility, make sure to incorporate equipment that is accessible for all users. In addition to the expected treadmills, stationary bikes and elliptical trainers, you can find fitness equipment specifically designed for people with disabilities, allowing them to exercise alongside your other visitors.
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