The Push for Disability Inclusivity in the Fitness Industry
81% of people with disabilities don’t feel welcome in their fitness spaces
From the LifeMinute.TV Team
October 11th, 2021
It’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Paralympic athlete Blake Leeper is drawing awareness to the lack of inclusivity in the fitness industry and what companies can do to help ensure people with disabilities feel represented.
People with disabilities face discrimination and bias in fitness spaces stemming from societal ability standards and ideas of what an athlete should look like. It's only made worse by the lack of representation of trainers and coaches with disabilities, not to mention limited access to inclusive fitness facilities. Leeper teamed up with Degree to call on the fitness industry to hire trainers with disabilities, to help increase representation, and ensure everyone can feel seen in their facilities. The Trainers for Hire campaign resulted from a study that found 81% of people with disabilities don’t feel welcome in fitness spaces.
As part of the Trainers for Hire campaign, Leeper taught two inclusive cycling classes in New York City’s Flatiron Plaza. Participants included people of varying ability levels, showcasing the ideal image of what inclusion in fitness classes should look like and that adaptive trainers are equally qualified to instruct and train.
Check out Degree’s TrainersforHire.com site for a free educational toolkit co-created with Lakeshore Foundation, a notable NGO in the disability space. The website also hosts a database of qualified trainers available for hire and ready to help make spaces more welcoming and inviting for people with disabilities.