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COVID-19 statement

Updated: Feb 4, 2022

I love to see the joy movement brings to my clients and I recognise just how important it is for mental health more generally. Studies show that individuals that exercise have fewer days of poor mental health and with multiple studies revealing a deterioration in mental health and wellbeing during consecutive lockdowns, now more than ever, we need strategies to make us resilient to the impact of the pandemic.

As restrictions have been lifted, many have felt it safe to return to their pre-pandemic exercise habits. In my classes some have come back fitter than ever, however, others have told me just how difficult it has been to find the space, time and motivation to take exercise with the additional pressures experienced over the past months/years. I have also been witness to many stories that recount the effect on my clients mental health.

My clients experience is mirrored both here in the UK and overseas, with studies reporting decreases in physical activity and increases in sedentary behaviours during respective lockdowns.

It is clear that physical activity can help our mental health. Adding to this, physical activity is strongly associated with reduced odds for severe COVID-19. In fact, not exercising is the strongest risk factor when compared with the common risks you can change like smoking or obesity. Regular physical activity cuts the risk of dying from infectious diseases such as COVID-19 by 37% and reduces the chance of catching a virus by 31%, it can even boost the effectiveness of vaccines by up to 40%.

As a group fitness instructor I have resumed my community classes. I follow guidelines set out by my governing body, reducing class sizes, increasing ventilation and ensuring cleanliness in my venue. Research by UK Active has shown that with less that one COVID-19 case per 100,000 visits since April reopening, fitness centres are a low risk environment for most people.

I have taken the advice of our government and been vaccinated. However, there are no requirements for attendees to group fitness classes to prove vaccination status. In a recent study it was demonstrated that the risk of transmitting COVID-19 to a vaccinated individual was similar whether the infected person was vaccinated or unvaccinated. For some working-out online is still the best option and I have made classes available both on Zoom and on demand for this reason.

I believe that collectively we have the power to jiggle, kick, lift, stretch, or sprint our way out of this pandemic. By living active lifestyles we not only improve our immune systems against COVID-19 but all viruses. By attending group fitness classes we can socialise in a relatively safe environment and we increase our mental health resilience. Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, this health intervention increases our autonomy over our own bodies and draws a clear parallel between our health outcomes and self care.

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