A new report has revealed that 86% of exercise professionals do not think they are adequately trained to effectively engage with disabled people, with 95% believing disabled people should be included as standard in personal trainer qualifications.

Published by Future Fit, with support from the Chartered Insitute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA), the report highlights the lack of knowledge that exists around engaging with disabled people’s fitness from professionals within the industry. Disabled people are the least active group in society, and twice as likely as non-disabled people to be inactive.

The report shows that engagement with disabled people was, however, a priority for two thirds of those surveyed, and one quarter of respondents run or had plans to run inclusive fitness sessions that included both disabled and non-disabled people.

CEO of Activity Alliance Barry Horne noted the promising nature of the results, but acknowledged how worrying it is to know that only one in seven exercise professionals are adequately trained to provide quality assistance to disabled people.

He said: “It is a stark reminder of the work still to be done that just one in seven of those surveyed feel that most exercise professionals are adequately trained to work with disabled people. But there are heartening findings too. Almost all respondents feel that working with disabled people should be included as standard in the personal trainer qualification rather than being an optional study route.

“We are just getting started with the ‘Everyone Can’ partnership, but we hope that it can help lead to an environment in which inclusive provision is the default position – not an optional extra. This objective can only be achieved through collaborative work to change the reality of disability, inclusion and sport. Activity Alliance will work closely with ukactive and colleagues in the leisure sector to ensure that disabled people can be active for life.”

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Image: Flickr/CrossFit RDU

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