Exercising Your Right to Fitness: An Overview of the Accessibility of Exercise EquipmentBy Burton, Darren; Huffman, Lee; Access World, Vo. 8, No. 6
Publication Date: November 2007
Article explores access barriers faced at fitness centers by people who are blind or have low vision. Exercise equipment such as treadmills, stationary bikes, pin-and-plate type weightlifting machines (e.g. Nautilus equipment) and free weights typically feature control panels with no tactile markings or speech output, and screens and control labels that people with low vision cannot read. Using handheld magnifiers or placing braille markings on the controls can improve accessibility. A computerized exercise program monitoring system gaining popularity in fitness centers, FitLinxx, which attaches to existing fitness equipment, learns users’ exercise programs, coaches and tracks progress, was found to have an inaccessible touch screen. Efforts by equipment manufacturers to improve accessibility mentioned are Life Fitness and Cybex International’s lines of disabled-friendly machines including cardio-fitness equipment with bright yellow pedals, straps and handgrips, and raised icons on control buttons; and strength training machines with swing-away seats and grips reachable from a wheelchair. Concept2 offers a rowing machine without buttons or screens, and is developing speech software downloadable to a Pocket PC to provide feedback on elapsed time, stroke rate and power produced while rowing. A resource list of information related to fitness and disability is appended.
Assistive Products Discussed: VR ROW TOTAL ACCESS (MODEL 4816/TA)
CONCEPT2 INDOOR ROWER (MODEL E)
Published by: AFB Press (Website:http://www.afb.org/Section.asp?SectionID=46)
American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) (Web Site: http://www.afb.org )
Link to text: http://www.afb.org/afbpress/pub.asp?DocID=aw080603