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Inclusive fitness looks to bring students together

The program is offering events that create a level playing field between students with and without disabilities.

The+inclusive+fitness+program+includes+a+pool+lift+at+the+Student+Recreation+and+Wellness+Center+to+increase+accessibility+to+students+with+disabilities.%0A
The inclusive fitness program includes a pool lift at the Student Recreation and Wellness Center to increase accessibility to students with disabilities.

The inclusive fitness program includes a pool lift at the Student Recreation and Wellness Center to increase accessibility to students with disabilities.

CSULB

CSULB

The inclusive fitness program includes a pool lift at the Student Recreation and Wellness Center to increase accessibility to students with disabilities.

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Finding motivation to visit the gym each day isn’t always a simple task. Getting there with a disability or injury can be even tougher.

For students using the inclusive fitness program at the Student Recreation and Wellness Center, though, overcoming both injury and disability has become a bit simpler.

The program puts an emphasis on those with disabilities but was constructed to bring students together, regardless of one’s fitness level, through strength and inspiration, said Michael Freeman, aquatics coordinator.

Freeman said he believes inclusive fitness is as enlightening as it is symbolic.

“The word ‘inclusive’ doesn’t just mean disabled,” Freeman said. “Inclusive is a bridge for all venues: body types, race, religion and culture.”

The inclusive fitness program is designed so people with disabilities and their peers can compete on an even playing field, Freeman said, because the program sets out to eliminate the divide between students with and without disabilities.

Although it’s mostly able-bodied individuals participating in the inclusive recreation events, the program seems to be serving its purpose, Freeman said.

“It’s all camouflaged to me,” Freeman continued. “I never can really tell who’s who.

The inclusive recreation program offers activities such as sit-down volleyball and inner-tube water polo, which are among the most popular. Both games neutralize the competitors’ use of their legs, which brings a level playing field for competitors who may be unable to perform certain tasks.

For some students, the inclusive recreation program has also helped with rehabilitation.

“Staying active through my ACL rehabilitation was near impossible and downright frustrating,” senior graphic arts major Kevin Wiener said. “InnerTube water polo let me stay competitively relevant as my leg rehabbed.”

Other students without disabilities said participating in inclusive recreation events revealed to them what life with disabilities would be like.

“Although I don’t have a disability, it was kind of enlightening to play goal ball while being blindfolded,” senior communications major Charlie Forsch said. “Performing any task in the dark gives you a whole new way of seeing things.”

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