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Improve Mental Health through Physical Activity

By Joe Giandonato, MBA, MS, CSCS

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly one in five U.S. adults (52 million Americans) is grappling with mental illness per the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services aimed at addressing quality and availability of treatment and rehabilitative services related to substance abuse and mental illnesses.

The convergence of public health, economic, and societal crises in 2020 served as a watershed moment that inequality and disparities in resources exist, but more harrowingly that our country is panged by an illness significantly more widespread than COVID-19 and perhaps less reported than the common cold.

Ostensibly, events over the past 18 months have exacerbated pre-existing mental illnesses while spawning an incalculable cluster of mental, behavioral, and emotional disorders.

In its Stress in AmericaTM 2020 report, the American Psychological Association reported that 78% of Americans consider the coronavirus pandemic as a significant stressor within the lives, while 60% indicate the issues America is facing overwhelms them. One in five adults reported that their mental health is worse than it was the prior year.

Paralleling issues have been observed within the workforce over the past year as stress associated with perception of safety, pathogen transmission risk concerns and deployment of transmission risk mitigation measures resulting in quarantine, confinement and social exclusion, misinformation, and actual or potential financial impact and job insecurity. Additionally, dependent care needs mounted amid COVID-19 as many schools were closed nationwide as a measure to thwart the spread of the virus.

Healthcare workers were most adversely impacted by COVID-19. A meta-analysis conducted by researchers at the University of Ottawa comprised of 189,159 subjects revealed a 16% percent prevalence of depression and a 15% prevalence of anxiety. Another meta-analysis of cross-sectional studies involving healthcare workers with a cumulative sample size of 13,641 generated the following outcomes expressed as percentages of the subject pool: stress (40.6%), depression (32%), and insomnia (38%). Leisure and hospitality workers and those in customer-facing roles faced similar procedural driven depression and anxiety causing stressors as a result of COVID-19.

Attendant with developing familial and occupational demands were diminished practice of health behaviors, specifically engagement in physical activity. Regular physical activity has been traditionally accepted and promoted to curtail cardiometabolic health risk while improving a constellation of fitness qualities, including muscular strength, endurance, flexibility, and cardiorespiratory fitness. Despite this, only 23.2% of U.S. adults aged 18 and over met the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans originally established in 2008 and revised in 2018 by the US Department of Health and Human Services which recommends the achievement of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week and two non-consecutive days per week devoted to resistance training involving all major muscle groups.

Reductions in physical activity were noted among 70% of medical residents and significant disruptions in physical activity were reported among females. Younger adults who continued to exercise during COVID-19 lockdowns chronicled feeling more energetic than those who exercised irregularly or not at all and among 2,115 respondents across the lifespan (ages 16-65+) who achieved 150 minutes of physical activity per week were happier and more likely to maintain their overall wellbeing than those who performed less than 30 minutes of physical activity daily. Physical activity level was the greatest predictor of emotional wellbeing amid COVID-19, with greater wellbeing scores noted among persons achieving moderate to high weekly physical activity levels.

Members of a population who presumptively engaged in regular physical activity prior to COVID-19 also endured disruptions to their fitness routines. According to The Covid Era Fitness Consumer survey conducted by the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, which comprised 1,171 respondents composed of U.S. adults aged 18 and over who maintain or recently cancelled a gym membership, revealed that 48% admitted to having a harder time finding motivation to exercise and 54% were dissatisfied with their new routine, with 56% indicating they believe their new routine to be worse. 10% of respondents revealed they stopped exercising altogether.

Though employment trends and arrangements have shifted in the past year, institutional or corporate wellness programs remain optimally positioned to promote the inclusion of physical activity to improve and uphold physical and mental health. Administrators and practitioners should formulate health messaging to include physical activity guidelines, elucidate benefits, and provide resources, actionable strategies, and creative solutions to help their populations achieve greater physical and mental health during these challenging times.

Want to get proactive and learn more for your clients and understand depression and other issues? Check out the Medical Fitness Specialist certification.

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An Update From The Director of Curriculum

Greetings everyone! I hope this update finds you well. As we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, we are grateful for your dedication and perseverance to both your education and your clients. Fortunately, the metaphorical light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter each day, as more people become vaccinated and case counts decrease. Most states have begun to ease restrictions and fitness facilities across the US are re-opening their doors to eager people who are looking to shed their own personal “Covid-19” weight gain.

At W.I.T.S., we always aim to provide up-to-date and relevant educational programming for our students and post-pandemic life will provide us with a unique opportunity to introduce our newest certification program: Medical Fitness Specialist. This program will focus on identifying, programming for, and training clients with a multitude of chronic conditions, ranging from anxiety through cancer.

According to the CDC, nearly 6 in 10 Americans are currently living with a chronic condition and nearly 4 in 10 Americans are living with more than one chronic condition. We can also expect this number to increase in the coming months/years as a result of Covid-19 “long haulers” and the number of people newly diagnosed with conditions such as anxiety or depression increase. A key component in training these unique individuals is understanding the unique challenges and opportunities they present and this certification course will do just that!


Learn More About the Medical Fitness Specialist Certification


Medical Fitness Specialist Certification is a 30-CEC course that will spend equal parts studying core content (lecture-based) and learning hands-on approaches to training these unique clients (practical-based). When learning about each condition, students will learn about:

  • Basic pathophysiology
  • Common medications and interactions
  • Effects of exercise response and training
  • Recommendations for exercise training
  • Exercise program recommendations

We are extremely excited to offer this course and our developers are working diligently to get this course completed as quickly as possible while maintaining the educational standard you’ve come to expect from our coursework. Stay tuned for its release in May 2021!


Learn More About the Medical Fitness Specialist Certification


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Medical Fitness Specialist Certification – Prepare for the Future

Author – Pamela G. Huenink, MS, EP-C

Are most of your clients healthy with no underlying conditions? Most likely no. In fact, the majority of your clients probably have at least one risk factor that puts them at a higher level for complications and restrictions with normal physical activity and exercise.

The increase in the incidence of disease has risen astronomically over the past 15-20 years. Many factors have played into this, such as a decrease in daily movement (usually because of the use of technology), increased portions sizes, bad health and wellness choices and even the lack of nutrition in our consumable whole foods. This has taken the previous fitness field as we know it and started to push it into a new direction: medical fitness.

A classic personal trainer certification teaches you the basics to assess, program and progress workouts for what we are told is the average client, but that healthy person is no longer the average client. So how do you prepare yourself as a personal trainer in this new developing area of medical fitness?

We all know that if we could take the effects of exercise on the human body and put it into a pill form, there would be no need for half of the jobs in the medical and fitness world.

The American College of Sports Medicine has long used the phrase Exercise is Medicine (EIM). Their EIM global health initiative “encourages physicians and other health care providers to include physical activity when designing treatment plans and to refer patients to evidence-based exercise programs and qualified exercise professionals. EIM is committed to the belief that physical activity promotes optimal health and is integral in the prevention and treatment of many medical conditions.”

World Instructor Training Schools (W.I.T.S.) has always been committed to providing the most up-to-date training for our personal trainers. Their new Advanced Medical Fitness course is bringing the medical fitness world to your doorstep and giving you the skills necessary to work with the new average client who may suffer from one of many underlying health conditions. This course will give you the knowledge to work with these clients and take referred patients from medical professionals looking to incorporate activity into their patient’s daily life. Your knowledge from this class can also protect you legally due to your ability to provide an increased safe workout environment.


Learn more about the Medical Fitness Specialist Certification


The following topics will be covered in depth in this course:

  • Exercise Is Medicine in Chronic Care
  • Basic Physical Activity and Exercise Recommendations for Persons With Chronic Conditions
  • Art of Clinical Exercise Programming
  • Art of Exercise Medicine: Counseling and Socioecological Factors
  • Approach to the Common Chronic Conditions
  • Chronic Conditions Strongly Associated With Physical Inactivity
  • Chronic Conditions Very Strongly Associated With Tobacco
  • Cancer, Significant Sequelae Related to Common Chronic Conditions
  • Depression and Anxiety Disorders

Prepare yourself for the future with this Medical Fitness Specialist Level I Certification that puts you a very large step above the rest of personal trainers! The MFS Level II Certification with more in-depth coverage of disease and chronic conditions will be available in the Fall of 2021.


Learn more about the Medical Fitness Specialist Certification


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What does Dosha have to do with Exercise?

As a personal trainer, you will hear all kinds of excuses from people as to why they can’t lose weight, gain muscle with weight training, or stick to a workout plan. And sometimes your response will be an internal eye roll along with the thought, “here we go again!” But hold on a second because sometimes their excuse is actually valid.

Ayurveda is the traditional Hindu system of medicine, which is based on the idea of balance in bodily systems and believes that energy systems called doshas govern physiological activity. There are three doshas – Kapha, Pitta, and Vata. We encompass all three systems but usually have one predominate system and sometimes a close secondary. For example, I am a Pitta with a Vata secondary.

The cool thing is that as trainers, we can use someone’s dosha to guide their nutrition and workout programs. As it relates to exercise, most trainers that love working out with weights are Pitta body types. It makes sense because a Pitta Dosha needs to pump some iron to be healthy. A Pitta is like a Mesomorph – they build muscle easily. However, if you are training a Vata body type (think Ectomorph) and you start overloading them too quickly (or in some cases, at all), they can start to feel sick, get injured, feel discouraged and quit.

Here is a breakdown of body types and the best type of exercise for them. A Vata needs more zen-like exercise to be healthy – yoga, tai chi, brisk walking, biking, martial arts, and dancing. A Pitta does well with weight training, circuit training, biking, hiking, swimming, tennis, climbing, and skiing. A Kapha (Endomorph) needs to work up a good sweat and does well with aerobic activity such as brisk walking, jogging, running (if their joints are healthy and they don’t have too much extra weight on them), spinning, dancing, circuit training, and rowing.


Browse these courses on sport and exercise nutrition.


As I mentioned before, most people will have a primary and a secondary. You may think the primary is easy to discern based on their body type, but this may not always be accurate. You may think someone who is carrying a lot of extra weight is a Kapha, but if they were thin children and only gained the weight later in life, they could be a Vata or a Pitta who just needs to lose some weight. A true Kapha will be those people who say they have always had trouble with their weight, even as young children. You may think that someone extremely thin is a Vata but could possibly be someone with an eating disorder and that someone muscular is a Pitta but could possibly be taking steroids. It is always best to have them take a dosha quiz.

If you figure out your clients’ doshas, you can tailor a workout that will excite them, get them results without injury, and keep them motivated. Using myself as an example again, I love to be in the weight room, and I thrive with that style of workout. However, having a Vata secondary, I know that my Pitta can become imbalanced which leads me to being highly driven with an energy level that can sometimes be way out of balance. In order to balance that high energy, I need to add some Vata elements into my routine so I have a balance of Pittas. I do this by regularly taking slow, meditative nature walks and taking an occasional yoga or dance class.

Check out a video I did on this subject at www.rhondahuff.com, Videos, Chapter D and you can find a cool Dosha worksheet that you can use with your clients in my book, Healthy Living From A To Z: The Guide To Finding Who You Really Are & Feeding Who You Were Created To Be which can be purchased on the website or, along with my first book, The Addictive Personal Trainer: The Client-Centered Approach That Keeps Them Coming Back For More at www.Amazon.com/author/rhuff.


Browse these courses on sport and exercise nutrition.


Bio:

Rhonda is currently working on a Doctor of Chiropractic degree and is an Exercise Physiologist with a BS in Fitness-Wellness and an MEd in Education. She is a certified personal trainer, a board-certified holistic health and nutrition coach, a master neurolinguistic programming and hypnosis practitioner, an advanced Frequency Specific Microcurrent practitioner, a published author, a motivational speaker, and an entrepreneur. Rhonda currently resides in Atlanta, GA, but also calls NYC, NC and VA home. Learn more about Rhonda and her work at www.rhondahuff.com.

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Pooling it Together: Benefits of Aquatic Exercise

By Joe Giandonato, MBA, MS, CSCS

Among the numerous exercise modalities studied, practiced, and employed within the fitness industry, aquatic exercise / pool exercises and the cadre of benefits it boasts, is often overlooked by fitness professionals.

According to a 2013 report furnished by the Sports and Fitness Industry Association entitled “Sports, Fitness, and Leisure Activities Topline Participation”, 9,177 people out of 42,365 respondents or 22%, indicated participation within aquatic exercise at least one time in the past year. Per the IHRSA 2018 Health Club Consumer Report, a biennially conducted survey, showed an increased participation rate of 5% in aquatic exercise.

The utility of aquatic exercise and its far reaching health and performance boosting benefits, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic that continues to rage on in conjunction with the onset of flu season in geographic locales throughout the United States and the rest of the world, should be given closer consideration for acceptance within a comprehensive fitness program. (more…)

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Prevent Groin Pulls with These Exercises

By Joe Giandonato, MBA, MS, CSCS

Injuries of the groin muscles, or adductor muscles complex, are one of the most problematic issues in a number of sports. According to a 2007 report featured in the Sports Medicine Journal, groin injuries are most common in field sports such as rugby, soccer and ice hockey [1]. Groin overuse injuries are also relatively common in other field sports such as football and lacrosse.

The report identified core weakness as a possible underlying cause in groin pain in athletes & groin injuries, as coactivation, or simultaneous firing of the core musculature and adductors must occur during the athletic movements the adductors generate.

The adductor complex is a composed of an assemblage of muscles layered on top of one another, cordoning the inner thighs. They balance the pelvis during gait and as mentioned earlier, contribute to athletic movements, which include twisting, turning, and pivoting, they are also key players in pelvic stability, such as activities of daily living which include climbing stairs and picking up objects. (more…)

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Keeping Kids Active When Schools Are Closed

Kids active

By Dave Johnson, MEd

The COVID-19 pandemic has been, and continues to be, a struggle on virtually everyone across the globe. Economies are tanking, people are losing jobs, and prolonged isolation is driving record cases of depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders. Most attention during the pandemic has been on adults; after all, they are (generally speaking) more at risk of complications from this virus than children and, for the most part, have been the ones driving infections.

The start of the public school academic year, however, is right around the corner and many school districts are struggling with the learning environment and the decision whether or not to physically welcome students back in their buildings. While evidence suggests that children are less likely to have severe complications, we have seen the number of children contracting COVID-19 dramatically increase since schools and camps started re-opening. A recent report from the American Academy of Pediatrics reports that, in the last few weeks of July, 97,000 new cases of COVID-19 in children. As more states begin to re-open their schools, it’s anticipated that the number of cases will skyrocket. Online education is an option but this article is about being at home.

Why does this matter to personal trainers? Odds are, if numbers continue to climb, schools will close again. If schools close again, that means that most interscholastic athletic teams will also stop playing and practicing and children will not be physically active during physical education class. Simply put, this means that most children will not have any guided physical activity in their lives. This is a major public health concern! As a baseline, during normal times, fewer than 25% of children meet the recommended physical activity guidelines for their age. Even those children who are involved in sports fall victim to this. Have you ever thought about how much time is spent during practice simply standing around?

If you’ve read my previous blog post (The Hidden Benefits of Physical Activity in Youth), you’re already familiar with some of the lesser known benefits of physical activity in children. From a COVID-centric perspective, though, there are three major benefits to focus on:

Regular exercise boosts the immune system – Research has consistently shown that regular, moderate-intensity exercise has immune-boosting benefits that may help children and adults to fight off infections, including COVID-19.

Regular exercise may prevent weight gain – Energy balance and how it applies to body composition is well-known among personal trainers, but consider that kids are eating more fast-food than ever. That, coupled with childhood obesity rates being what they are, means this is a target demographic that desperately needs our help!

Regular exercise will reduce stress and anxiety – We know adults are stressed but kids are, too! One of the most important components of in-person schooling is the enhanced social dynamic it provides or a work online learning balance. Simply being around their peers is incredibly beneficial for most children and, since March, many have been isolated and have not had the opportunity to engage in regular age-appropriate conversation with friends.

This all may seem bleak but there is good news: we can help! There are strategies that personal trainers can utilize to help families stay active together and promote a healthy lifestyle for both their children and themselves. Join me in our upcoming BlogCast to learn more about these strategies and how you can help this unique demographic survive and thrive during this pandemic.

Please register for Keeping Kids Active When Schools are Closed on Aug 19, 2020 3:00 PM EDT.

Want more specific ideas to excel with our youth and your children? Check out our Youth Fitness Foundations programs and others for direction to expand this market as a Personal Trainer and as a parent. Check these out!

Youth Fitness Foundations

and

Youth Fitness Practical Review

 

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Exercise Immunology 101: Considerations for the Fitness Professional

Outdoor Exercise

by Joseph Giandonato, MBA, MS, CSCS

As the COVID-19 pandemic transforms our society and a myriad of industries, including our own, concerns about safely continuing to pursue fitness goals have emerged as fitness instructors and the clients they support weigh the risks versus rewards during these unprecedented times.

Nationwide, cases have continued to surge in spite of attempts to temper the proliferation of the virus as government organizations at the federal, state, and local levels work to strike a delicate balance between curating the health of citizens and restoring the economy. Measures such as abridging capacity and hours of operation of multiple fitness and recreational facilities, including temporarily shuttering venues and suspending services, while disruptive, are intended to keep us healthy.

Long term held beliefs about exercise adversely impacting immune system is the functioning has been corroborated by a landmark review authored by Gleeson (2007). The review demonstrated that the inflammatory response of a singular bout of intense and prolonged exercise mirrors that of infection, sepsis, or trauma, triggering the release of inflammatory cytokines, including tumor necrosis factor, and interleukins 6 and 10, C-recreative protein, and interleukin-1-receptor antagonists that, in concert, influence the augmentation of circulating white blood cells, known as leukocytes.

Hormonal secretion following an intense bout of exercise induced activity, specifically epinephrine and cortisol blunt the secretion of leukocytes and impair cell mediated immunity and inflammation, thereby increasing the susceptibility of infection and modulating the morbidity and severity of illness. Previous research established a strong correlation between a exercise dose and upper respiratory tract infection among humans. Health fitness exercise bouts consisting of a stimuli that is too novel, too frequent, too intense, and too voluminous to which the subject is accustomed have been found to increase pathogen infection risk. There has been a considerable amount of studies that have demonstrated the temporary ergolytic effects of acute exercise on immune system functioning, ranging from three to 72 hours post-exercise. Researchers and health and exercise professionals have coined this period of time characterized by temporary suppression of the immune system as “the open window”.

To simultaneously curtail infection risk and facilitate the achievement of improved fitness industry qualities or biomotor skills, one must account for life stress, energy availability, sleep duration and quality, travel, and exposure to environmental or climate extremes beyond the exercise frequency, intensity, volume, and type, according to Professor Neil Walsh, a faculty member at Bangor University in the United Kingdom, who outlined recommendations for athletes to maintain immune health.

Key guidelines among the few dozen presented are summarized below for personal trainers in working with potential clients:

  1. Undulating training stress throughout training cycles and weeks
  2. Incorporating active recovery sessions
  3. Incrementally increasing volume and intensity, but no more than 5-10% per week
  4. Minimize unnecessary life stress
  5. Monitor, manage, and quantify all forms of stress, both psychological and physical
  6. Aim for more than seven hours of sleep each night; nap during the daytime, if able to, or necessary
  7. Monitor sleep duration and quality; ensure darkness at bedtime
  8. Be cognizant of reduced exercise capacity in hotter, more humid environments
  9. Permit acclimatization to changes in, or extreme weather
  10. Uphold optimal or recommended nutrition, hydration, and hygiene practices
  11. Do not engage in extreme dieting; be sure to consume a well balanced diet
  12. Discontinue training if experiencing symptoms “below the neck” as they could be indicative of an upper respiratory tract infection (URTI)
  13. Avoid sick and/or symptomatic people
  14. Practice good hand hygeine

Exercise evokes a hormetic effect, or dose-dependent response, meaning that moderate exposure can be beneficial, but amounts either too minimal or excessive can cause harm. This is precisely why exercise physiology scholars and health and medical professionals alike have embraced the mantra of “exercise is medicine” in recent years. Too little exercise results in greater cardiometabolic disease (aka conditions of “disuse”) risk, whereas too much exercise results in greater injury or illness (aka conditions of “overuse”). As mentioned in an earlier post, “acute singular bouts of exercise at or above lactate threshold (55% of VO2max among untrained individuals; 85% of VO2max among trained individuals) for periods of up to, or more than one hour, contributed to temporary immunosuppression. Regular exercise among individuals has shown to yield immunoprotective benefits. The takeaway here should be, exercise during this time should be regarded as a tool to reinvigorate and recover, not bury and deliberately fatigue. Sparingly perform sets to failure and limit volume at or beyond lactate threshold.”

In summary, immune system performance and overall health can be achieved through regular exercise. During times of greater illness transmission and infection risk, fitness professionals, athletes, and enthusiasts must practice both diligence and vigilance to ward off foreign pathogens. Fitness goals should be targeted and inputs, such as time and effort should be quantified to calculate training load. Rest and recovery should be as equally, if not greater prioritized.

References

  • Gleeson, M. (2007). Immune function in sport and exercise. Journal of Applied Physiology, 103 (2), 693-699.
  • Kakanis, M.W., Peake, J., Brenu, E.W., Simmonds, M., Gray, B., Hooper, S.L., & Marshall-Gradisnik, S.M. (2010). Exercise Immunology Review, 16, 119-137.
  • Murphy, E.A., Davis, J.M., Carmichael, M.D., Gangemi, J.D., Ghaffar, A., & Mayer, E.P. (2008). Exercise stress increases susceptibility to influenza infection. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 22, (8), 1152-1155.
  • Nieman, D.C. (1994). Exercise, infection, and immunity. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 15, S131-S141
  • Walsh, N.P. (2018). Recommendations to maintain immune health in athletes. European Journal of Sport Science, 18 (6), 820-831.
  • Wong, C., Lai, H., Ou, C., Ho, S., Chan, K., Thach, T., Yang, L., Chau, Y., Lam, T., Hedley, A.J., & Peiris, J.S.M. (2008). Is exercise protective against influenza-associated mortality? PLoS One, 3 (5): e2108.

 

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Suggestions on How to Safely Re-open your Fitness Facility

By: Mark S. Cassidy, MS

Let’s face it, the COVID-19 pandemic (in relation to a baseball analogy) has been a curveball that no one has been able to hit cleanly. That being said, we all still need to stand in the batter box and take our best swing.

As states across the country begin to allow fitness centers, health clubs, wellness centers and athletic facilities to open, there are still numerous precautions that have to be considered with coronavirus. For all of us who are actively involved with the Fitness Industry, we can’t simply think that it is going to be business as usual. Its not. All of us (members, clients, personal trainers) are going to have to be much more conscious and take a proactive approach to try and ensure the safety of everyone. This won’t necessarily be easy, but it is doable.

The following is a usable list of suggestions that should be considered when you prepare to reopen to start fitness sessions and training activities for your client base:

Fitness Facility Usage

  • Remove equipment (strength and cardio) from some areas and have it located in another part of your facility to help with physical distancing
  • Make some equipment (strength and cardio) unusable (maybe by posting sign on it), then changing which equipment is usable daily
  • Utilize multiple doors in the facility – One for “Entrance” – One for “Exit”
  • Temporarily remove all fitness accessories and portable recreational equipment (bands, balls, bars, etc.) from the fitness area
  • Supply additional cleaning supplies, then require all participants to clean up / wipe down fitness equipment after use
  • Require wearing a mask or cloth face shields be worn by everyone in the facility
  • Perform temperature checks for everyone entering the facility
  • Air flow is key so use your fans in the building and leave your fan setting for the A/C on.
  • Require all members or clients to sign a Liability Waver specific to COVID-19
  • Additional Hand Sanitizer units should be installed in facility
  • Limit that only 2 people may be in any rest room, at any time
  • Limit that only 2 people may use the elevator, at any time (if you have one)
  • Consider establishing a “fitness room capacity’, then require any interested participant to schedule an appointment time, in order to use the room / equipment
  • Consider to temporarily not allow access to the locker rooms / showers
  • Consider foot-plates or arm-bars to open the doors in the facility
  • Consider offering any live fitness-group classes virtually
  • Temporary suspend any recreational activities, games, and competitions on a basketball court, racquetball court, or turf field where intentional or inadvertent physical contact may occur
  • Eliminate the use of any room or area that cannot be monitored by a staff member
  • Rearrange Fitness Staff or Sales Staff offices, to help with social distancing and allow for immediate cleaning when their use is completed
  • Consider adjusting the operating scheduling of the facility (longer of shorter) to accommodate community members who have preexisting health conditions, along with controlling the flow of foot traffic in the facility
  • Staggered scheduling for Fitness Staff, so not all the staff members are in the facility at the same time
  • Allow Staff Member to work from home, on task and work assignments that do not require them to be in the facility
  • Scheduled workout sessions for specific participants, with a limit on the number of participants on the court, field or gym at a time
  • Once a group session is concluded, those participants will be required to leave the facility or field, so the next group can participate
  • Don’t allow friends or family members to wait in the facility during a session
  • Clients are to bring their own fitness or athletic equipment (balls, bands, clothes, etc.), to all fitness training sessions. The Staff will not be allowed give out equipment
  • Clients or members must bring their own water or snacks with them to all training sessions

 

Fitness Facility Rentals

  • Any group that wishes to rent or reserve any field or court in the facility must do so through a designated staff representative of the facility, do so 24 hours in advance, and supply a list of all participants who will be using the field or court
  • Inactive participants, reserves, or members serving in the capacity of a “coach”, “photographer”, or “referee” must maintain a distance of six feet or more from other persons at all times
  • Aforementioned persons must always wear a facial covering, mask, or shield while not participating
  • A designated staff member will determine what sports or activities will be permitted on any field or court in the facility, along with having direct and final input on any rules that are associated with predetermined sports or activities
  • Recreational and sporting activities with greater rates of contact, whether intentional or incidental, are prohibited
  • Participants are to follow self-screening measures prior to entering premises which include temperature and symptom checks. Those who have a body temperature of 100.4F or symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 are prohibited from entering the premises
  • Those who exhibit symptoms during play or while on premises, must vacate immediately and seek appropriate medical attention
  • Beverages with open containers and food and snacks, specifically gum, lozenges, and sunflower seeds are prohibited due to increased risk of transmission via saliva.
  • The sharing of beverages, including water and sports drinks, from the same container, is highly discouraged
  • Participants are strongly discouraged from high fiving, handshaking, fist bumping, hugging and sharing other forms of physical contact with one another. Additionally, participants are discouraged from touching their faces with their hands and fingers
  • Personal property is to be stored along the perimeter of the field or court, and more than six feet away from possessions belonging to other persons

 

I recognize that there are a lot of potential rules or restrictions on the list, along with other ones that could be included. However, because we all work at various locations, with different populations, with different requirements, my suggestion would be to apply as many of these as possible to your specific athletic, fitness, and wellness training situation.

Together, we can all make a positive impact on limiting the exposure of COVID-19. Then we can all get back to what it is we like to do – physically training and conditioning our clients, members and athletes… … and swinging for the fences …

Stay Safe.

Mark Cassidy explains how to safely re-open your fitness facilityMark S. Cassidy, MS has been actively involved with the Fitness and Athletic Industry for over 25 years.

He has held professional positions with The Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, World Instructors Training Schools, Philadelphia 76ers, YMCA, Delaware Blue Coats, Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association, and American Heart Association. Mark has an Associate’s degree in Business from Delaware County Community College, a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology from Temple University, a Master’s degree in Organizational Development/Business Psychology from The Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, and certification through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He has professional experience as a Fitness Instructor, Strength Coach, Sports Coach-Counselor, Exercise Therapist, Sales Manager, College Professor, and Athletic Facility Director

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Staying Fit in the Age of Social Distancing

As we continue to practice social distancing and local fitness facilities remain closed, we’ve received a lot of inquiries regarding opportunities for exercising while remaining at home. We’re here to help! Here is a short list of free fitness options that you can either provide to your clients, use for yourselves, or both!

We hope you like this addition and please share what your club group or W.I.T.S. alumni business is providing for their clients and community virtually. Be safe and healthy as we do this together.

Planet Fitness – Planet Fitness is offering a way for everyone — members and non-members — to work on their fitness while at home. Every day at 7 p.m. Eastern, the gym will be live-streaming “Work-Ins” on Facebook.

ClassPass – ClassPass is offering free unlimited access to 2,000 video and audio workouts when you create an account and download the app.

305 Fitness – 305 Fitness is offering at-home dance classes that will help you work up a sweat. The studio is live-streaming cardio dance workouts on its YouTube channel twice a day that you can playback at any time.

Life Time – You can now get your favorite yoga, cardio and strength-training classes on demand! Life Time invites members and non-members to experience a good workout for free, and new classes get added every day.

OrangeTheory – Orangetheory is uploading new 30-minute workout videos to its Facebook page and website every day to help you achieve your health goals without leaving your living room. Be prepared to use just about anything you can find around the house for resistance!

Blink Fitness – Every weekday at 8 a.m. ET, log on to Facebook to get access to Blink Fitness’ live streams that will focus on a certain part of the body.

Gold’s Gym – Membership or not, Gold’s Gym is offering free access to its online collection of over 600 audio and video workouts until the end of May 2020.

Fit On – You can work out with celebrity trainers every day for free and get the superstar treatment when you try out the FitOn app. You will be able to customize your fitness plan according to your schedule and will have access to over 100 classes that focus on cardio, strength and even some exercises for pregnant women!