For many club owners and operators, creating a workout environment that’s welcoming, safe, and supportive for people of all ages and abilities is an important part of their mission and values. Yet, many users still struggle to “fit in” or feel comfortable in fitness facilities.
While it’s true that you can’t control everything, you can make a few changes that will make your club more appealing—and rewarding—for those who are older, obese, or have a disability or chronic disease.
Making your offering more inclusive isn’t just a community outreach initiative—it’s also a business opportunity. Personal limitations affect more people than you might think. Consider the following statistics:
- The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that more than one billion people—15% of the world’s population—are living with some type of disability. In the U.S., at least 20% of those under 65, and 37% of those over 65, are affected.
- The U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) predicts that one in four of today’s 20-year-olds may experience a disability during their lifetime.
- WHO also estimates that chronic diseases cause 70% of all deaths each year.
- In 2014, the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) estimated that 60% of Americans had one chronic disease, and that 42% had more than one. By 2020, that number may grow to 160 million, with 83 million people having multiple conditions.