universal design guidelines
We have successfully completed an additional year of the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) RecTech grant with the University of Alabama at Birmingham to complete a harmonized set of International ASTM Standards on universal design specifications for mainstream accessible fitness equipment. ASTM general (F3021/F3022), strength equipment (F2276/F2277), elliptical (F2810/F2811), treadmill (F2115/F2106), and cycle (F1250/F3023) standards for UDFE specifications and test methods are now published and available through www.astm.org.
A repeatability and reproducibility study of the color value contrast method in ASTM F3021/F3022 was presented at the 2016 RESNA conference. This color value contrast test method is now being used in other assistive technology standards such cognition and wheelchairs. This set of ASTM standards was highlighted in the ASTM Standardization News publication.
In addition, on April 30, Senator Tammy Duckworth introduced S.1244, the “Exercise and Fitness for All Act.” Representative Mark DeSaulnier introduced the bill in the House of Representatives as H.R.4561 on September 27. The bill would require the Access Board to develop accessibility guidelines within 18 months for exercise or fitness service providers regarding the provision of accessible exercise or fitness equipment. The bill would also require DOJ to issue regulations regarding the provision of accessible exercise or fitness equipment and accessibility of exercise or fitness classes and instruction.
The RESNA Standards Committee on Inclusive Fitness (IF) published the ANSI/RESNA Standard for Inclusive Fitness—Volume 1: Inclusive Fitness Environments, which contains: Section 1: Providing and Marketing Inclusive Fitness Environments, Section 2: Disclosure of Published Methods and Requirements for Creating Inclusive Fitness Environments and Implementing Inclusive Fitness Practices, and Section 3: Specifications, Test Methods, and Best Practices for Facility Accessibility. RESNA IF is currently working on two additional sections regarding training and certification for fitness center staff and information disclosure. The committee is actively recruiting experts in these areas. For more information, visit the RESNA IF website.
RESNA IF was highlighted on the National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability (NCHPAD) website and in the July/August 2016 Access Currents (US Access Board’s newsletter).
using equipment with mobility devices
Fitness equipment can present challenges and risks for people who use mobility devices. The following posters were developed to ensure the proper use of fitness equipment by persons using mobility devices.
In 2014, NCHPAD, Beneficial Designs, Inc., and RERC Rec-Tech published a booklet providing guidance on the use of fitness equipment for persons using wheelchairs. The guide can be downloaded below.
accessible equipment and facilities
We have been working with the Recreation Technology Program at the University of Birmingham, Alabama, which is focusing on implementing the research findings and standards developed in the previous RERC RecTech projects. We are working to identify factors that help and factors that hinder the adoption of universal design principles by exercise and recreational equipment manufacturers as well as public and private exercise and recreational facilities. We can use these findings to increase interest in universal design and encourage the usage of ASTM and ANSI/RESNA published standards to expand the accessibility of fitness environments for people of all abilities. Currently, interviews of fitness center owners or managers are underway.