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ROB THURSTON COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR, CYBEX INTERNATIONAL UK


O


ne of the biggest challenges currently facing operators, and consequently equipment


manufacturers, is the lack of funds available for both local authority-run centres and private clubs to assist in the provision of inclusive fi tness facilities. There’s also a need to address the misconceptions of what ‘inclusive fi tness’ encompasses. It’s not just about disability. In fact, the IFI’s own standards highlight signifi cant applications to other markets that the fi tness industry also targets – the ageing population and obesity and ill health in both adults and children, for example. A more co-ordinated policy approach to dealing with other health- related issues is therefore required, integrating inclusive fi tness into initiatives targeting these important audiences. For a number of years, CYBEX


has offered a full range of equipment certifi ed to IFI level 2, and many of our customers already recognise the advantages of offering inclusive kit. The


Inclusivity should not only embrace disability, but also the ageing population and obese people


City of York Council’s Energise leisure centre, for example – the fi rst operation in the UK to be awarded the Inclusive Fitness Mark – is now in the process of almost doubling the size of its facility as the gym strives to meet the demands of a growing membership.


There’s always likely to be an increased cost when providing inclusive equipment, but from working closely with the IFI, we’ve been able to incorporate such requirements directly into our R&D rather than having to modify our existing fi tness equipment.


“THE FIRST OPERATION TO BE AWARDED THE INCLUSIVE FITNESS MARK IS IN THE PROCESS OF ALMOST DOUBLING ITS SIZE”


DENISE PAGE HEAD OF YMCAFIT


D


isabled people have the same wants and needs as non- disabled people. They want


to be in a position where they can take responsibility for their health, and they want to have genuine choice – whether that’s using the gym or taking part in group exercise. They need access to an environment where staff are committed to listening to what they can do, not what they can’t, and helping to fi nd solutions. Until now, the only relevant staff


qualifi cation was in gym instruction. But with the support of SkillsActive, the Awarding Organisations and the commitment of YMCAfi t, the qualifi cation is now generic: instructors incorporate the theory of working with disabled clients to their own area of expertise.


The course is also open to Level 2 instructors – the prerequisite was


september 2012 © cybertrek 2012


Disabled instructors often show greater empathy to clients, says Page


previously Level 3 PT and Advanced Gym Instructor – and takes only two days plus a half-day assessment. Operators must now commit to training their staff and offering a more accessible timetable; for the fi rst time, it will be possible to highlight on a class timetable those sessions where a disabled client can participate alongside non-disabled users. Employing disabled instructors is another way to show that the facility


is truly inclusive. We’ve found that students on YMCAfi t’s InstructAbility course – instructor training for disabled students – have shown greater levels of empathy, and their ability to motivate people in achieving goals is more advanced than many of our non- disabled students. Marketing must also be more


inclusive to show that everyone is welcome within our facilities.


Read Health Club Management online at healthclubmanagement.co.uk/digital 65


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