When you are disabled one of the many challenges you face when you are trying to start a fitness journey is trying to find a workout that is accessible for you because pretty much all workouts are designed for abled people. There are a lot of great fitness channels with workouts that will get you great results and there are many that are designed for seniors but I don’t think I have ever seen any that were designed specifically for the disabled community. I workout a couple of days a week because I like it and know I should but it’s not easy and much harder than it would be for most people. Disabled people want to be fit and have nice bodies just like abled people but it’s a lot harder to achieve that because so many abled people think we aren’t worthy of it and don’t create accessible workouts we can do. In this post, I talk about how fitness creators and designers can make fitness more accessible so it’s easier for disabled people because even if a majority of your audience is abled-bodied people disabled people need to stay fit to improve their health!
Design thicker mats– Sometiemes I struggle to motivate myself to workout so when I have cute yoga mats or activewear with lots color it really motivate me to want to do my routine. With that said yoga mats of the right thickness with lots of color and pretty design can be hard to find because most of them have pretty designs but are only half an inch thick. I just bought a new yoga mat from Blogilates which I would have thought would have been thicker since it was designed by a Pilates instructor but it was not much thicker than a regular yoga mat which was a little surprising. It’s fine for me because I workout on carpet but for some people, it may not be because of tailbone sensitivity and hard surfaces may cause some serious sores. Thin mats have a purpose and we shouldn’t stop making them but it is frustrating that you can find could designs on thin mats but not on thick ones so we should definitely make more of those!
Make prices more affordable- An active lifestyle is important for everyone including disabled people if not even more important but it can be more difficult to be more active when you don’t have the same types of resources abled people do to stay in shape. A lot of abled people can afford to pay two-hundred dollars a year for a fitness plan if they are struggling to stay on track because they have working jobs and a lot of disabled people may want to do that but don’t make enough to do even half of that. A lot of disabled people are literally surviving off of disability checks and partime jobs which may sound great that we get free money from the government but it’s really not because we are only allowed to make a certain amount and if we exceed that we lose our benefits which can be really bad because then we won’t have insurance and won’t be able to go to the doctor. I understand people have to make a living and if you legimately can’t lower your prices that’s fine but if you can and choose to overcharge and make us pay for services we can’t use you might as well “say disabled people are welcomed here”.
Stop designing resistance bands with latex-Products without latex do exist but I have seen far more resistance bands that are being made with latex than without that don’t need to be. Stop making products with latex that don’t need to be because there are so many disabilities including Spina Bifida that have severe allergic reactions when they come into contact with latex and if we happen to not be paying attention when we buy these products it can be dangerous or potentially life-threatening for some people.
Create more disability friendly routines- The only reason I work out is because I find some enjoyment in my workouts because, to be honest, my workouts are harder for me than they should be and the average disabled person would probably think I’m crazy for doing them! My workouts are not designed for my disability or any at all so it is harder for me than it would be for most people but there aren’t really many alternatives. I do wish fitness trainers would keep the disabled community in mind when creating workouts because it’s already really hard but it would be much easier if every workout had modifcations (not just some some of them) and alternatives for when moves just weren’t possible. Sometimes when I am working out there will be a move I am unable to do and the modification will not be there which is not a problem for me because I know all the modifications since I have been working out for a while but for someone who is new to exercise they may not know that and just feel lost and frustrated.
Make them more durable- My stability is not great because of my disability so I fall a lot when I exercise and I cannot tell you how many time I have ripped a mat because of that. A lot of mats a very pretty and I want them all but they just don’t hold for people like me and I am lucky if I can get a month out of it. Make them pretty but at the same time more durable so people who have these issues can use them without worrying about destryoing days after purchasing it.
Fitness is so much harder when you are disabled because almost everything is designed for abled people and the disability community is often left hanging. I get a majority of your audience will probably be abled people and I don’t blame fitness trainers for not having extensive not on disability but I do blame them for not even trying to make their workout accessible. Some people will take the initiative and look for something that is accessible but other people will not and will just accept the fact that it does not exist which is sad because it shouldn’t take three days to find a twenty minute workout. There are some seated workouts that I have found but in my experience, most of them are not accessible because pretty much all of them require you to move your leg the whole time or do some type of heel movement which some people can do but a lot of people can’t so even though it says it’s accessible that doesn’t mean it is. Accessible workouts do exist but there aren’t near as many accessible ones as inaccessible and as frustrating as it is sometimes it’s just better to do those and modify than to look for something accessible because it will be like finding a needle in a haystack. How do you think fitness creators can make fitness more accessible for disabled people?
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