Alexander Elliott lifting weights at his local accessible gym.

Accessible gyms and how to enjoy them

19 March 2021

Alexander Elliott finds out what makes a gym accessible and tells us why this is important.

Many people make New Year’s resolutions to lose weight or get fit and healthy. Some people do this by joining gyms.
Our colleague Fiona boxes at a gym to get rid of stress and stay healthy. This a link to her story.

For some people with disability however, joining a gym can be a challenge because we don’t think we will be welcome. This is not the case.

Exercise is good for mental wellbeing as well as physical fitness.
It leaves people with a sense of accomplishment.
It also gets rid of stress and helps us feel better.
You have the right to feel welcome in a gym.
You have the right to get out and exercise.

Alex lifting weights at accessible gym
Alexander Elliott rowing at his local accessible gym.

Why is it important for gyms to be accessible to people with disability?
It is important for gyms to be accessible because like anyone else, we have the right to use them. Like any other space, they should feel safe and inclusive for all people.
A gym is where you want to work on your fitness goals and feel the best.

What makes a gym accessible?
The accessibility of a gym begins at the entrance.
Is there a ramp you can use to get to the gym?
Is the entrance wide enough?
Other important things:
• It is located in an easy to reach place.
• You can move easily around the gym and it’s not too crowded.
• It has a big central area to exercise with no machines in the way.
• There are good staff who are understanding and flexible with all client’s needs.
• The NDIS can cover the cost of gym membership.

How does the gym make itself inclusive and encourage people with disability to get out and be
Staff are important in creating a positive gym environment. Friendly staff make it feel welcoming.
Staff can be trained in how to work with people with disability.
You can talk about your needs and goals with your trainer before joining the gym.
You can speak to staff about what times of day are less noisy or busy.
Your goals can change as you go along.
Your trainer will then work with you to ensure you are sticking to your goals.

The challenges of keeping a gym accessible
Gyms have to keep up with the needs of all people, including people with disability.
A good gym owner can always adapt to any client.
Talk to the gym owner if you want to join and ensure they know your needs.
Remember, you can change your goals or training plan at any time.
The trainer will adapt to make sure you get the best service.

Share online: