Americans With Disabilities Act

Information on standards and compliance with the ADA for health and fitness clubs.

DISCLAIMER: This information is intended for the general education of IHRSA members, and should not be considered legal advice. Members needing legal advice should consult an attorney who is competent in this area of the law. 


What is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and how does it affect health clubs?

The ADA is a federal law passed by Congress in 1990 that requires companies providing goods and services to the public to ensure equal opportunity for people with disabilities. Health clubs must be in compliance in two areas (Member Login Required): employment (under Title I) and public accommodation (under Title III). 


Who is covered by the ADA?

A person is protected by the ADA if he or she has a disability, has a record of having a disability, or is regarded as having a disability. The ADA's definition of disability is very broad. A disability is defined as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities (such as hearing, seeing, speaking, breathing, performing manual tasks, walking, reproducing, caring for oneself, learning or working). Examples of disabilities include mental retardation, epilepsy, blindness, paraplegia, schizophrenia, cancer, HIV-positive status, and AIDS.

The Basics

Additional Resources and Links

For additional questions, please contact IHRSA at or 800.228.4772.