Accessibility Options

Contact Information

Center for Disabilities Studies
University of Delaware
461 Wyoming Road
Newark DE 19716
Phone: 302-831-6974
TDD: 302-831-4689

Fitness Providers


Many people with disabilities state that a major barrier to participation in fitness and exercise programs is physical inaccessibility of fitness facilities. In addition to man with exercise machinehaving equipment that cannot be used by individuals with certain physical disabilities, most facilities do not think about maneuvering space when they arrange their machines and equipment. A fully accessible fitness center could mean just a few minor adjustments in placement of equipment!

In order to maximize access for all people, fitness centers should consider accessibility a priority. Several agencies and facilities in Delaware have developed accessible sports and fitness programs. To find out more what tools you or your facility can incorporate to incorporate the needs of all people, see our resources below.

Tools for Providers

Did you know?  Fitness trainers can increase their knowledge about exercise and training techniques to incorporate when working with people with disabilities.  Learn more about how to become an ACSM/NCPAD Certified Inclusive Fitness Trainer (CIFT) below.

ACSM/NCPAD Certified Inclusive Fitness Trainer (CIFT)

A CIFT is a fitness professional who assesses, develops and implements an individualized exercise program for persons with a physical, sensory or cognitive disability, who are healthy or have medical clearance to perform independent physical activity. CIFT professionals hold a current NCCA-accredited health/fitness certification and CPR and AED certifications. In addition to knowledge of exercise physiology, exercise testing and programming, a CIFT has knowledge in inclusive facility design and awareness of social inclusion for people with disabilities and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

For more information on CIFT certification, visit the American College of Sports Medicine Website

Exercise is Medicine: Health and Fitness Professionals’ Action Guide

This guide helps providers incorporate each person’s individual skills and abilities into an individualized plan for physical activity.

Also check out the Exercise is Medicine website for useful fact sheets on providing exercise and training techniques for people with different disabilities and/or health conditions.

Tools for Facility Accessibility

The resources below are from the National Center on Physical Activity and Disability (NCPAD), for more information on physical activity and disability visit NCPAD’s website.

Creating an Accessible Fitness or Wellness Facility

Creating an environment that is welcoming to all people is an important part of service delivery and is required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  This document provides tips on how to incorporate accessibility into the design and programming of fitness facilities.

AIMFREE Accessibility Manuals

NCPAD produced several AIMFREE (Accessibility Instruments Measuring Fitness and Recreation Environments) manuals. The manuals include questionnaires to assess the accessibility of recreation and fitness facilities, including fitness centers and swimming pools.

Virtual Tour of an Accessible Fitness Center

This tour was produced by NCPAD and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. The tour provides examples of accessible equipment layouts for fitness providers.  The equipment shown in this virtual center has elements of universal design which can be used by people with different levels of ability.

Before and After Demonstrations of an Accessible Fitness Center

Facility managers or providers can use this interactive tool to show how small adjustments in layout can significantly impact the usability and accessibility of fitness facility equipment and space.

Other Resources for Facility Accessibility

ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Recreation Facilities

The Access Board produced these accessibility guidelines as a basis for standards for new construction and alterations of recreations facilities, with regard to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Providers should consider these guidelines when considering modifications or construction of facilities.

Center for Universal Design
The Center for Universal Design at North Carolina State University has produced a list of seven principles of universal design that would help make facilities accessible for all customers.

US Access Board

The US Access Board has a comprehensive list of ADA guidelines and standards documents to help facilitate accessibility for buildings.

Suppliers of Accessible Fitness Equipment