Adapted Fitness: What it is & what it is not

Posted by Team Kakana in Daily Dose on February 02, 2022 # Health, Exercise

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What is Adapted Fitness or Accessible Workouts?

The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation is teaming up with adaptive fitness platform Kakana to educate and provide accessible workouts for the disability community. Our goal is to provide the necessary tools and resources for all activities, making sure our community understands the benefits of these workouts. We will raise awareness about accessibility and adaption to fitness through our partnership with a modern and fresh approach to each workout.

Does the world understand?

When you leave the disability world and talk to a corporate entity or gym, you get some wild answers. Just this week, we were told by a venue that they had adapted fitness with, “We have workouts for Seniors and also Parkinson’s specific workouts.” A second entity said, “We have a few workouts that are seated, inside the platform we already have.

Let’s start with the definition of “fitness,” the condition of being physically fit, healthy, and more specifically, the ability to perform aspects of sports, occupations, and daily activities. There are hundreds of different subsets under fitness, from Boutique Cycling and CrossFit to Running and beyond, so when someone describes “fitness,” they have a lot of options and need to narrow down what they actually do.

What is Adapted Fitness?

First, define what it is not. It is not one type of adapted workout, for example, Senior’s workouts, that work for the entire Disability Community. It’s not strictly seated workouts or throwing captions on a screen. It is not 3 workouts inside a library of 1,000. And it’s most certainly not, a “do what you can” initiative inside of a workout constructed for Individuals without disabilities.

Garrison Redd exercising

Adapted Fitness is a workout one can do, period. A workout that can be adapted to meet anyone’s needs.

One job of Kakana and other Adapted Fitness entities, including Disability Advocates, is to show that access to becoming fit and healthy should be commonplace and not unattainable. This will then move companies and other fitness brands to become inclusive. It needs to be part of the focus and should not be a minuscule subsection of a bigger platform where you send individuals with disabilities.

It’s also not one type of workout. There is Peloton, Soul Cycle, Mirror, Tonal, Tempo, P90X, Fitness on Demand, Plank, FitOn, Orange Theory, Bar Method, Crunch, Planet Fitness, Gold’s Gym, CrossFit, Yoga, Pilates, and we could keep going. Those are all different types of workouts that attract a different type of person who is interested in that style of workout.

Through our partnership, our community will be able to provide a line-up of workouts ranging from different types of accessible workouts (and not senior workouts for 25–35-year-old badass men and women).

Crosscycle: the only boutique adapted cycling class in the world that takes the Peloton/SoulCycle idea and makes it accessible. It’s a mix of Cardio and Strength.

Strength: We have two Strength Instructors that take different approaches. Not all Strength training is the same.

Cardio Boxing: A Cardio Shadow Boxing class that works on your cardiovascular system, without blowing up your shoulders and brings a different take to Cardio than jumping on a Handcycle.

Yoga: The mind-body connection is an important one and one that can provide a much-needed balance to your fitness journey.

Meditation: In the same mold as Yoga, you can regulate breathing and “focus on you” instead of outside forces.

All of these classes are crafted to bring individuals together to work out. The bar was not lowered, the instructors do not take it easy, and they are engaging.

Over the next several articles we will interview a disability advocate, talk about identifying adapted fitness, and discuss the next steps in the accessible fitness and adapted fitness world. Follow along to learn about how fitness can and should be accessible.

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The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $8,700,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.