Four women working out next to each other. They are all seated and using a stationary bike with their arms.

Empowering Every Body: CrossFit 8035 and Adaptive Sports Iowa Transform Lives Through Adaptive Fitness Initiative, Bridging Gaps for Health Equity

Towards the end of the year, most people start reflecting on the past year and looking ahead to the next year. Some people make resolutions, and gym memberships skyrocket. Not all gym memberships are created equal, however. For people with physical disabilities, it can be a challenge to find an accessible gym that has the equipment needed. 

According to the CDC, people with physical disabilities are at higher risk for comorbid health conditions, such as obesity and heart disease, and also face more physical, emotional and financial barriers to working out than the average nondisabled person. This makes exercise more important but more difficult for people with physical disabilities. Fortunately for Des Moines residents, a collaboration between Adaptive Sports Iowa and CrossFit 8035 is helping to break down those barriers and fill in the gap.

A new program was piloted in 2023 called 8035 Adaptive Fitness. Anyone with a physical disability could sign up for a once a week group workout led by a trainer certified in Adaptive and Inclusion through CrossFit. This program was available for just $25 per month, and due to the interest, was increased to twice a week. Certified trainer Abby Jorgensen says, “The adaptive program at CrossFit 8035 is one of the most rewarding and challenging aspects of my career as a coach and I absolutely love it!” 

The adaptive fitness program is more than just working out. It has a real impact on the participants’ health and everyday lives. “I love seeing them try new things and succeed and get stronger, to make their tasks in everyday life that much easier,” Jorgensen explains.

Adaptive Sports Iowa hopes to make more connections with gyms across the state to offer this program to all Iowans with physical disabilities. “We are about so much more than sports,” says ASI director, Hannah Bowman. “We want to break down barriers and provide opportunities so that people with physical disabilities are empowered.” 

The collaboration between the two organizations has had a positive impact on everyone involved. The CrossFit 8035 gym recently held a small fundraising event for Adaptive Sports Iowa that included an adapted workout for both disabled and nondisabled participants and fostered friendships and connection. Jorgensen proudly states, “They are all a prime example of it doesn’t matter what is stopping you from coming into the gym, our gym is very welcoming and inclusive to all!”