In addition to individual and social barriers to physical activity (PA), people with impairments also face a physical or built environment that is often not conducive to PA. The purpose of this chapter is to survey the most common, and some idiosyncratic, environmental barriers to PA and protections intended via the Americans with Disabilities Act. While opportunity barriers are often under people’s control, other barriers such as inclement weather are outside of human control. However, sidewalks and wheelchair ramps that are not shoveled free of snow are examples of where uncontrollable and controllable barriers merge. Other examples include transportation barriers: Often entrances to public transportation are inaccessible, and waiting for public transportation and carrying equipment on public transportation are seen as barriers to PA. Ramps too steep for wheelchairs, bathroom and locker room doors too narrow for wheelchairs, no grab bars in showers, lack of lifts into a pool, and pools that are too cold also make it hard for people to use exercise facilities. Other environmental obstacles to PA include a lack of auditory signals at crosswalks, and uneven and unkempt paved walking and jogging paths.
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