It can seem like the fitness industry often celebrates one body type, which is thin, cis-gendered, "able-bodied," and strong in all the right places. Consequently, anyone who doesn't fit this mold may feel forgotten and discouraged from beginning their fitness journey.
The truth is anyone can get in shape and become the fittest version of themselves — even people with diverse abilities. With a supportive community and the expertise of adaptive fitness specialists, athletes with diverse abilities can get active and lead healthier lifestyles.
Empowering athletes with diverse abilities strengthens the community and creates an environment where everyone feels valued just as they are. Let's get started by learning more about what it means to have diverse abilities and the benefits of a specialized, understanding fitness community.
What Are Diverse Abilities?
The term "diverse abilities" means that everyone has unique abilities, and all of them have intrinsic value. This is a relatively new phrase when referring to people with special needs, but changing the language we use to speak about people with "disabilities" creates a more welcoming, inclusive environment for everyone.
The American Community Survey (ACS) uses six basic categories when defining people with diverse abilities, including the following:
By raising awareness about diverse abilities, we can create a society that is more accessible to all. Recognizing and respecting that there are different ways of navigating the world gives people with diverse abilities the opportunity to reach their full potential.
Physical Training with Diverse Abilities
Most people with diverse abilities focus on enhancing cognitive skills through additional school tutoring or work accommodations. However, physical training and exercise are just as crucial for those with diverse abilities as for everyone else. Physical activity is proven to increase self-esteem in those with diverse abilities while providing a necessary social outlet.
Most people know that regular exercise has myriad benefits for a person's physical and mental health, but this is especially true for those with diverse abilities. Research states that adaptive fitness dramatically improves the overall well-being of individuals with diverse abilities and provides them with a sense of purpose and a safe environment for social interaction.
How to Incorporate Adaptive Fitness in an Exercise Regimen
In the simplest terms, adaptive fitness is personal training for people with diverse abilities. These workouts may include strength training, cardio, and pilates, just like any other exercise regime. With these tips, every athlete can get a well-rounded workout catered to their abilities.
Feature Low Impact Exercises
Some people with diverse abilities have ambulatory conditions, meaning that high-impact exercises such as running or jumping rope can cause injury. But these exercises can be modified to avoid injury. For example, instead of doing jumping jacks, diversely abled athletes can remove the jumping and do a half jack with arm movements.
Athletes who are wheelchair-bound or have other ambulation conditions may need to perform entirely different exercises. In this instance, consider handcycling and other seated aerobics exercises.
Try Exercises Made to Fit Each Athlete’s Abilities
Athletes with motor imbalances can accommodate these physical challenges by performing exercises that are made especially for them. For instance, people with autism benefit from adaptive fitness exercises like bear crawls, which allow them to improve cue recognition and coordination simultaneously. Anyone can build a stronger body and become the athlete they always wanted to be with the right activities, modifications, and accommodations.
Use Resources and Connect with Others
When it comes to adaptive fitness, it's essential to use all available resources and form a community with people that also have diverse abilities. There's no better feeling than working out with friends, and research supports the assertion that exercising in a group can supercharge an athlete’s motivation.
Additionally, people with diverse abilities often leave the world feeling excluded and underrepresented. Working with similar people creates a safe environment where they can achieve their fitness goals without judgment. Since very few gyms cater to those with diverse abilities, these athletes should consider joining an online fitness community like Let's Go Fitness, where they can fit in with people just like them!
Who Can Benefit from Let's Go Fitness?
Getting in shape is all about fun, friends, and fitness. At Let's Go Fitness, we ensure that people with diverse abilities have the resources to lead a healthier lifestyle and have fun doing it. Our fitness community celebrates diverse abilities.
While we work with all people, most of our athletes have the following conditions:
If you or a loved one needs help accommodating any other disabilities, we're happy to help! Just let us know so we can develop a regimen to bring out the best in your diverse abilities.
What to Expect When You Join
Interested in joining our supportive community? In the first phase of your fitness journey, you'll work out individually with our adaptive fitness specialists to master the basics, like proper form and safety. In the second phase, you'll form social connections with other athletes with diverse abilities. Once you have a solid foundation and are comfortable working out in a group, you'll move on to the Fitness phase, where you can focus on improving your athletic abilities with support from your new friends!
Make the Most of Your Diverse Abilities with Let's Go Fitness!
At Let's Go Fitness, we strive to create a welcoming environment where you can make friends, get in shape, and have fun doing it! Our adaptive fitness specialists will guide you every step of the way. Whether you need accommodations, modifications, or simply an understanding listener, we'll help you reach your goals.
Are you ready to start your fitness journey? Contact Let's Go Fitness today to learn more about our membership packages!
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Let's Go Fitness's blog page keeps you up to date with educational and instructional information for training with diverse abilities.