The 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design has requirements for both publicly-run and privately-owned recreational facilities, which includes gyms. The two main features of the gym that have been required to be accessible are swimming pools and exercise equipment.
— Access Advocates ♿ (@AccessAdvocates) February 25, 2014
For swimming pools, in which alterations and new constructions are being made, they must be accessible by specific means according to the size and type of the pools. Mostly, existing pools are not required to be changed but removing obstructions to access are necessary where “readily achievable”.
The requirements for new pools and those being altered are:
- If pool has less than 300 lineal feet of wall then the pool needs either a sloped entry or a lift that can be operated by a person with a disability.
- If the pool has more than 300 lineal feet of wall then there needs to be at least two means of entry; these can include a sloped entry, a lift, transfer walls (in which you can transfer from chair to wall and into pool), a transfer system (in which you can transfer to a platform and then to a series of steps into the pool) and stairs.
- For specialty pools like a wave action, leisure river or other such kind of pool in which there is only one means of entry then there needs to be at least one accessible entrance which can be a sloped entry, a lift or a transfer system.
- For wading pools there needs to be one entry and this can be a sloped entry.
- For spas, there needs to be at least one entry which can be a lift, transfer walls or a transfer system.
Since it is readily achievable to make exercise equipment accessible to people with disabilities, by simply moving things around, gyms are required to make sure they are accessible.
Gyms must have at least one of each type of equipment available to people with disabilities. This means if they have 5 treadmills, for instance, at least one must be accessible. For strength equipment, since they are each unique, there must be one of each kind accessible. There must be a space of 30 inches by 48 inches to allow for transfer to and from equipment.
All of the other rules of the ADA still apply, of course. There must be accessible routes to equipment. Where readily achievable, there must be restrooms and a shower available to people with disabilities and signage showing where these facilities are if they are separate from others in the building. You should also have access to such things as drinking fountains if they are there and a phone if offered to the public. There must be parking available for people with disabilities, if readily achievable too. There must be an accessible entrance to the gym. You are allowed to bring your service dog too.
Clearly, everyone ought to have access to recreational facilities and all of the advantages of using them to stay in shape and enjoy physical activities.
If you have not been able to access a public pool or exercise equipment at a gym, you can contact us.