Buncombe County Recreation Services, Special Olympics of Buncombe County, and South Slope CrossFit today announced a partnership to offer free programs each Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Classes are open to the public and participants do not need to be Special Olympics athletes. The Adaptive Athlete Program features inclusionary workouts tailored to develop strength, mobility, and body awareness through functional movement.
“CrossFit, interval training, and fitness in general has seen huge jumps in participation over the past several years,” said Karla Furnari of Buncombe County Recreation Services. “We want to ensure every member of our community has an open door to a supportive and safe training environment to help them thrive the best they can. There should be no barrier to entry for exercise and wellness.”
Coaches have participated in hands-on courses to learn inclusive techniques for athletes with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including specific strategies for adapting individual movements and entire workouts. Each workout includes a warm-up and cool down with about 40 minutes of a great total body workout – all alongside members of a like-minded community. “Our Adaptive CrossFit program is designed to improve the functional capacity of our athletes inside and outside of the gym regardless of skill level, ability, or adaptation. We are thrilled to be able to provide this course in a fun, safe, and supportive environment to adapt athletes across the county, ” said Julie Hansell, South Slope CrossFit’s Head Adaptive Coach.
“Our ultimate goal is to prepare athletes for everyday life,” said Furnari, who is also a Special Olympics coach. “What we practice in class – squatting, picking things up, pulling things close – are designed to help foster independence in a safe space. When you’re dealing with a limitation, it’s easy for others to write off that you can’t do hard things. Training in a room of people with similar challenges helps everyone understand their potential.”
“It is our belief that every single person is an athlete, whether they realize it or not. It is our mission to help every person who walks through our door tap into their athletic potential, no matter who they are or what their perceived limitations might be. With these values in mind, we started the Adaptive Program in order to provide an environment with highly trained staff where people with various disabilities can grow and develop in ways they might not have thought was possible,” says South Slope CrossFit Co-Owner, Scott Mirkin.
Workouts take place at South Slope CrossFit located at 217 Coxe Ave in downtown Asheville each Wednesday from 3:00-4:00 p.m. starting October 17. Reservations are not required, but those who are interested are encouraged to RSVP on Facebook.