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TSERISA's Photo TSERISA SparkPoints: (3,503)
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8/25/18 6:15 A

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Some gyms are accessible and some very much aren't. In my experience, most are navigable -- ramps to most areas, wide enough aisles, etc. -- but beyond that many don't have much available to do there, as most of the equipment is set up for able-bodied people only. That is, they do what's required to comply with the ADA but nothing beyond that. However, I've found some that went beyond that and had accessible equipment. If you're lucky enough, some areas have gyms specifically geared towards disabled people. I've heard that YMCAs often have more equipment for varying needs.

There are usually things like free weights, but even these can be a pain to use because they're not accessible *from* a wheelchair, so a person will often have to have an assistant get them, or find an employee. That is easier at some gyms than others. And some equipment may be accessible and roll up-friendly if the seat is removed; in my experience you'll need to ask someone else to do this for you, as it can be awkward from a chair with limited mobility.

I've noticed most pools (in big cities at least) now have pool lifts, if swimming or water exercise is something you're interested in or able to do. There are sometimes classes specifically catering to disabled people too, especially since pool exercise is so low impact, it's a great choice for many people.

Some things to ask if you're calling around are the usual accessibility questions (ramps, doors, locker rooms etc.); if they have a wheelchair-accessible/roll up arm cycle or hand cycle ergometer (like http://www.scifit.com/product/ifi-pro1/), CrossFit rope pull machines, or other equipment you think would work for you; and if they'll let you bring a personal assistant at no extra cost.

I'd also suggest getting a referral to a physical therapist if you can. They probably are aware of where the best accessible gyms are and what would work best for your body to start out with. They can help you work out what exercises you can do at home as well.



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SP_COACH_DENISE's Photo SP_COACH_DENISE Posts: 42,849
8/14/18 12:52 P

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If you are looking into gyms, then I'd recommend calling around to your local gyms to see what they have available for you. If you are in a bigger town/city, you are likely to have more options. I live in a small town, so the gyms that I know of here do not have many, if any options, for wheelchair-bound people. Bigger areas may have more options for you though, so it would be best to check with the gyms that you are interested in/are near you.

That said, with your condition, if you haven't seen a physical therapist, you may want to do that to see what exercises would be best for you and to see if you are limited in any way for certain exercises.

Coach Denise

"Obstacles don't have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it." - Michael Jordan

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MLAN613 Posts: 19,919
8/14/18 6:36 A

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Honestly, any exercises we recommend may cause more harm than good due to your condition. Your best bet would maybe be to work with a physical therapist to develop an exercise plan.

Meghan in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA


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OIWILL Posts: 5
8/13/18 9:20 P

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Hello all! I was wondering if gyms have anything for people in wheelchairs?

A little about me and why I ask: I have a condition called Osteogenesis Imperfecta, or essentially Brittle Bones Disease. I fracture very easily. I am only 3ft 6in tall. I use a power chair full time. I am unable to transfer by myself so any exercises I do would have to be in my chair. I am hoping to get strong enough and lose enough weight to be able to transfer myself, though the thought scares me. lol.

Any ideas?

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