Universal Accessibility of “Accessible” Fitness and Recreational Facilities for Persons With Mobility Disabilities

in Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly
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This study descriptively measured the universal accessibility of “accessible” fitness and recreational facilities for Ontarians living with mobility disabilities. The physical and social environments of 44 fitness and recreational facilities that identified as “accessible” were assessed using a modified version of the AIMFREE. None of the 44 facilities were completely accessible. Mean accessibility ratings ranged between 31 and 63 out of a possible 100. Overall, recreational facilities had higher accessibility scores than fitness centers, with significant differences found on professional support and training, entrance areas, and parking lot. A modest correlation was found between the availability of fitness programming and the overall accessibility of fitness-center specific facility areas. Overall, the physical and social environments of the 44 fitness and recreational facilities assessed were limited in their accessibility for persons with mobility disabilities. Future efforts should be directed at establishing and meeting universal accessibility guidelines for Canadian physical activity facilities.

Kelly Arbour-Nicitopoulos and Kathleen Martin Ginis are with the Department of Kinesiology, Centre for Health Promotion and Rehabilitation at McMaster University in Hamilton, ON, Canada.