The second Saturday in June is Family Health and Fitness Day, organized by the National Recreation and Park Association and bringing attention to the importance of parks and recreation in keeping communities healthy. These spaces offer families of all abilities and backgrounds opportunities to move, play, explore, dance, climb, roll, and many other activities to maintain their physical and mental wellness.
For people with disabilities and their families, getting out and getting active can improve wellness, like better respiratory health for adults with spinal cord injury and reduced risk of chronic conditions like heart disease for people with traumatic brain injury. Sometimes it can be difficult to find opportunities for activity. We know that families of children with disabilities can experience challenges to accessing recreational programs and facilities, such as lack of transportation, negative attitudes from staff or coaches, and limited community resources like accessible playgrounds. Community fitness facilities may not be fully accessible to people with disabilities who want to work out, take classes, or gather for programs. However, getting out into the community with family and friends, like walks to the local park or community center, have been shown to be an easy, safe, and inexpensive way for people with disabilities to increase their physical activity.
After a year of staying home, many of us are venturing back out into our communities, and nearby parks and recreation centers offer lots of space to get active while staying safely distant. We hope you and your family and friends have the opportunity to explore your community this weekend – wear sunscreen and stay hydrated!
The ADA National Network of regional centers can assist municipalities, organizations, and facility owners to understand their responsibilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act and other Federal and local civil rights laws.
Download the Accessible Playground Toolkit from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (PDF)
Visit Universally Accessible Playgrounds from Colorado Springs Department of Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Services
Search for Wheelchair Accessible Trails from the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy