The Access Strength: Truly Inclusive Exercise Equipment

Rosemarie, Ryan Eder & The Access Strength
By Rosemarie Rossetti

Exercise is a top priority for me and my husband, Mark Leder. We have been regular members of the YMCA in Gahanna, Ohio since it opened in 2004. In the cold months, I am there about twice a week and less frequently in the warm months. I was involved with their adaptive fitness program in 2005 and had fitness instructors that helped me to learn how to use the equipment, in the gym, more effectively. In 2006, I enrolled in the warm water Pilate’s class and hired a swimming instructor in 2015 who taught me how to swim laps, using five different strokes! Also that year, Mark and I hired a personal trainer to show us how to use additional exercise equipment, creating a program for each of us to follow.


As much as I enjoyed all of these activities, they came with challenges and frustration of trying to access and use much of the standard exercise equipment designed for non-wheelchair users. The difficulty that I have had working on exercise equipment, especially early on, was transferring from my wheelchair to each of the pieces of equipment. I would notice black and blue marks on my legs on occasion, at places where my leg would hit a seat during the transfer. There were only a few pieces of equipment that I could use from my wheelchair. I also found it cumbersome to put pins in the weights to adjust the equipment and sometimes even the lowest weight setting, was too difficult for me to lift.

I’m excited to announce that there is a new piece of universal design exercise equipment now on the market that is without the obstacles that I (and many others) have encountered in the past! It was designed for people of all abilities, including people like myself, who use a wheelchair for mobility. I have known the inventor, founder, and CEO of IncludeHealth, Ryan Eder, for many years and am amazed at the technology that he has created.

Ryan started as a design student at the University of Cincinnati when he happened to notice a man in a wheelchair, working out at the gym. After observing him, Ryan noticed that the gentleman spent more time transferring and adapting to the equipment than actually working out. This moment became the focus of his senior thesis which led to designing the inclusive workout system, The Access Strength. Ryan describes his 10-year journey here.


This strength training equipment is not for the home gym but rather for rehabilitation centers, hospitals, orthopedic, and care centers. The Access Strength inclusive functional trainer allows a person to do hundreds of upper and lower body exercises from a seated or standing position.

 
I was fortunate to have worked with Ryan, from the early days when he was designing this equipment. I find it easy to use from my wheelchair and especially like the feature to increase and decrease the weight that I lift by simply turning a knob. The adjustments are in five-pound increments. This equipment fuses inclusivity, fitness, technology, data, and healthcare integration into a digital health platform focusing on physical medicine,
rehabilitation, and wellness.



IncludeHealth is an internationally awarded digital health company leveraging technology, data, and design to transform health and wellness. Offered through a monthly subscription, The Include Platform pairs HIPAA compliant cloud software with accessible fitness equipment to produce better outcomes with lower barriers and costs through features such as outcomes-based data collection, automated documentation, cloud collaboration, and inclusive design.

With $6M in development to disrupt the industry, The Include Platform has garnered over 20 issued patents and 18 international design + health awards including winning Best in Show in the International Design Excellence Awards twice! Other one-time winners include Apple, Nike, Microsoft, and Tesla.

So you are probably wondering how you have the opportunity to use this innovative equipment. If you are interested in learning more about The Access Strength or how to have it installed at a facility, please contact Ryan Eder at ryan.eder@includehealth.com.

We all know that fitness has to be a priority especially for those with mobility challenges. By being proactive, we can change our fitness environment to accommodate our needs so we can focus our efforts on being the best we can be, in the New Year and many years to follow!

To learn more about the author, Rosemarie Rossetti, visit https://www.rosemariespeaks.com/.

Enjoying Temperature Independence In Your Own Home


By Lucy Lawrence

There’s a lot to be desired when it comes to accessible housing. According to The Atlantic, only 40% of homes are accessible, meaning it can be a tiring experience for wheelchair users to find somewhere appropriate. The good news is that this trend is set to reverse and make heating the home an easier prospect than ever before.
 
Through the past few years, technology has aided independent living for wheelchair users, and to boot, the Justice department awarded $11.3m in damages against a housing provider found to have shirked the accessible building rules. Finding independence in the home is getting easier. One key reason for that, is the ease with which the home can now be heated.

Employing smart technology

One of the greatest obstacles to feeling truly independent with the climate in your own home, is the accessibility of technology. Old fashioned boilers/furnaces are often inaccessible and arcane in their design, and the thermostats that go with them are inaccessible and non-intuitive. Modern technology has comprehensively solved this challenge.