Make adjustments to your existing environment
You should also make sure your club complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Research the specific requirements of the act then commission an audit by compliance experts to ensure that your club meets all of the act’s requirements and stipulations. Devise a plan to help your club remain fully compliant based on the inspection results. Additionally, in a classroom setting, guide your staff and instructors to demonstrate various ways to perform exercises and present modifications as valid options, it makes the classes far more accessible. It behooves you to acknowledge and respect that students within the same class may have different needs and skillsets. It’s also a plus to foster a community of inclusion with people of varying needs and skill levels taking a class or working out together.
Follow the golden rule, do not assume a person with a disability needs or wants your help. Instead, let them know, as you would with any member, that you and your staff are available for assistance. Take a step back and observe your club from their perspective and be on the alert for barriers. At the end of the day, you should ensure all members feel comfortable and fit in. Train your staff to avoid prying details from a member about their disability; they will initiate the conversation if they wish to talk about it. Always exercise positivity and stay committed to maintaining a high standard of customer service for your members.
Separate exercise from weight loss
Improve financial and logistical accessibility
We’re seeing a trend of free or low-cost exercise programs in many North American cities. Local parks have installed free fitness circuits and equipment in addition to walking, dancing and running meet-up social groups. In addition, many folks can drop-in to a fitness class to have the flexibility to pay as they go. However, the disabled community would benefit from having access to more adaptive or low-impact classes. Furthermore, when these adaptive classes are available to the public, they’re often during the day, which makes it difficult for the working disabled to attend. The joy of physical activity should be available to all. How can you make your studio more financially and logistically accessible?
Special needs programs and accommodations for the disabled community should minimize barriers within your club. If you haven’t already, take the necessary steps to make equipment and mobility more accessible. Understanding and addressing the needs of people with disabilities will positively impact your bottom line while changing the lives of your members for the better.