If you have a disability, exercising is important to your overall well-being. But you may find that many fitness centers don't fully meet your needs. Some equipment may be impossible to use, and the classes may not be adaptive to a wide variety of abilities.
Exercise can benefit anyone, of course, but for people with disabilities, it may be even more important. They're much more likely to be obese or extremely obese when compared to people without disabilities, according to a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
The following five places and organizations offer exercise opportunities for people with disabilities, giving you the chance to improve your health and fitness:
Shepherd Center – ProMotion Fitness Center
2020 Peachtree Road NW, Atlanta, 404-350-7789. shepherd.org.
ProMotion Fitness Center is completely accessible for people with physical disabilities, allowing them to fully participate in all appropriate activities. Members can take classes and also have personal training sessions or private lessons. A weight room, indoor track, full-court gym and pool are also available, and professionally trained and certified staff members are on hand to offer assistance. Allternative Gym
1365 Pritchett Industrial Blvd., Austell. 678-945-4662. allternativegym.com.
This gym was designed for adults and children with special needs. It was founded by Angie Gomez, who has a child with special needs and also has over 20 years of experience as a certified fitness trainer helping people with special needs. Allternative Gym offers adaptive fitness therapy for adults with neurological disorders, as well as stroke survivors and children and adults who are on the autism spectrum.
1901 Montreal Road, Suite 102, Tucker. 404-687-8890. disabilitylink.org.
This non-profit organization "advocates for human rights, not special rights" and offers a wide variety of services. Their gym offers classes, programs and more to help promote health and wellness, and services are personalized for everyone, regardless of their disability.
1670 Oakbrook Drive, Suite 331, Norcross. 404-270-2000. blazesports.org.
BlazeSports offers a variety of exercise opportunities throughout metro Atlanta and Georgia for children ages 5 to 18 who have physical disabilities, as well as to veterans who are physically disabled. Children can participate in archery, climbing, swimming, track and field and wheelchair basketball. Veterans can take part in archery, cycling, swimming, track and field, adaptive golf and bowling.
Decatur Healing Arts
619 East College Ave., Decatur. 404-378-6288. decaturhealingarts.com.
Decatur Healing Arts offers a Therapeutic Yoga class that welcomes adults who have a variety of disabilities. It adapts traditional yoga poses to the needs of students and utilizes straight-back chairs, wheelchairs, standing with supports and floor poses. Each class is designed to meet the needs of the students who are present.