SpoFit is only the second facility of its kind in the U.S. It’s a fitness center as opposed to a therapy facility, and is meant to accommodate people with disabilities and their families. Not only does this allow assistants to participate, but it helps spouses and other family members to work out together.
SpoFit’s facilities include a gym and an aquatic center, which offers specialized classes for those with arthritis, as well as modified yoga, tai chi and other types of workouts. Visitors range from residents of assisted living facilities to aspiring Paralympians to those just seeking a routine to help maintain their health.
The Virginia G. Piper Sports and Fitness Center for Persons with Disabilities, shorthanded as SpoFit, is located in a Phoenix complex that houses approximately a dozen organizations concerned with the disabled. These include Arizona Bridge to Independent Living, of which SpoFit is a part, as well as Arizona Autism United, Raising Special Kids, the Arizona Spinal Cord Injury Association, and the Arizona Center for Disability Law. “So we have a lot of knowledge right here where we work,” says Brienne McDowell, SpoFit’s membership coordinator.
SpoFit’s two main pools feature aquatic elevators, which lower users approximately 3 feet from deck level to the pool’s floor. This saves on space normally needed to accommodate ramps and zero-depth entries. Plastic water wheelchairs are available for use.