Published on February 20, 2023

Inclusive Fitness for all Bodies and Abilities

“Is the gym for me?” “Is it accessible?” “Where do I start?” Sound familiar? Chances are thoughts like these could be keeping you from exercising or coming to the gym. Keep reading to learn how Jasmine Van Staveren, Exercise and Wellness Specialist at Servus Credit Union Place, builds welcoming environments for all bodies and abilities.

Instructor holding yoga mat and smilingFitness can sometimes seem a daunting task and showing up at a gym can be intimidating. Social media often portrays one perception, that doesn’t include a variety of body types or bodies with disabilities. Fitness is and can be inclusive to all bodies as well as abilities, it just takes the right facility, the right classes and having the right trainer!

Fitness For All Bodies

Health and wellness look different on everyone! There is no one-size-fits-all for what a “fit” person should look like. Too often the perceived end goal is to lose weight and look a certain way. This is simply incorrect; every individual has different reasons for why they move their bodies. Movement can support mental health, stress relief, pain management and/or reduction and give purpose and self-efficacy to one’s life. During my classes I always stress that we shouldn’t workout to be able to eat different foods or punish ourselves for what we eat or are about to eat. Instead, take time to celebrate and express gratitude for what our bodies do for us or take a moment to reflect on something great we did that day!

Gyms, classes and trainers with qualifications and standards will create an open and inclusive environment. Find yourself a gym, a trainer, a class or a community that supports your fitness journey, and creates a positive environment for you to spend time in. This will assist in taking away the fear and create an uplifting experience so you can get out there and accomplish those goals (whatever they may be).

Fitness For All Abilities

The beautiful thing about fitness and movement is that there are always ways to adapt to an individual’s needs! Adapting a movement can look differently, whether it be modifying levels or accommodating physical or cognitive limitations. Many people spend most of their time being told what they CAN’T do - find yourself a trainer or class that shows what you CAN do! “Perhaps the greatest potential benefit of exercise is its ability to preserve functional capacity, freedom and independence.” (Durstine et al. 3) It’s important to reflect on the benefits that exercise brings when choosing a routine and having a fitness leader that understands your needs.

And remember, when deciding on your fitness journey keep in mind that EVERYONE is worthy of movement, and worthy of having a safe space to come to!

Participants in all classes and programs at Servus Place are encouraged to speak with their instructor about modifications if needed. Servus Place also offers a variety of classes for special populations including Minds in Motion, Fitness for Multiple Sclerosis and Fitness for Special Populations.

Annual members at Servus Place gain access to more than 50 drop-in classes at no additional cost and receive a 15% discount on all registered programs and personal trainers. Learn more about the benefits of an annual membership and get started on your fitness and wellness journey today!

Last edited: February 21, 2023