Comparing Accessibility between Two Types of Fitness Centers for People with Disabilities
Langley, Emily R.
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A study of the accessibility of fitness centers in the Chicago area was conducted using a cross-sectional design with a two group comparison. The research examined both franchise facilities and privately owned facilities using part of the Accessibility Instruments Measuring Fitness and Recreation Environments (AIMFREE) tool. The main purpose of this study was to assess the compliance of accessibility criteria for individuals with disabilities by different types of fitness centers. The second purpose of the present study was to determine the top three least compliant areas within the fitness centers, and the third purpose of this study is to compare whether or not the areas of least compliance differ by fitness center type. Franchise gyms were generally found to be more accessible than privately owned facilities, though the data shows a low level of accessibility for Chicago gyms overall. Offering better education about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for gym managers and owners as well as stronger enforcement of ADA guidelines will help provide a more accessible environment conducive to physical activity for people with disabilities. Further research is needed in order to learn more about fitness center accessibility and how to most efficiently increase accessibility standards in gyms so people with disabilities can utilize fitness centers in a functional manner.
Accessibility Instruments Measuring Fitness and Recreation Environments (AIMFREE)