Helping our Fitness Professionals deal with Group Exercise &  Coronavirus

Helping our Fitness Professionals deal with Group Exercise & Coronavirus

Some of our professionals have started teaching but many are waiting until they have government approval to do what they love to do. Teaching a land program and an aquatic program  have their own challenges. We must recognize that we currently have no cure or foolproof immunity test – and for both economic reasons and physical and mental well being – we are starting back.

WaterART Fitness works with many facilities and program needs. We do not profess to know every facility or program or instructor and there are always exceptions to the rule.

Here is our best list of suggestions -with the goal of helping to improve the safety.  We must plan to help lead people through exercise as this is what we love to do. Educate and motivate!

The virus spreads efficiently via respiratory droplets when coughing or sneezing and prolonged personal contact such as shaking hands or touching someone or something with the virus on it and then touching your mouth, nose and eyes before washing hands will increase the spread.

Here are some ideas to think about we plan group exercise programs – the goal to provide safety and keep the virus from spreading.

1) Check with their facility safety guidelines and protocols. Each space or pool is unique.

2) Check with health & safety of state or province (which as you know varies greatly).

3) Physical  distancing at least 6 feet or 2.0-2.5 metres apart  as the  minimal space required. If your Center cannot facilitate everyone safely then you must decrease the number in each class. Be conservative at first and start with fewer participants that you think will work. As everyone learns to work in their space – you can add numbers. Realize with aquatic exercise, new participants may not understand how to balance their body to stay in their space and most people move at varying speeds. The inertia currents of a group may easily take someone off their “spot”.

4) Recommend that people bring their own equipment (no sharing). We realize some people do not always have the budget to have their own equipment; however, the cost of being ill may be greater. Most are not spending going out to dinner and other events. Emphasize the importance of investing in their own well-being and once purchased most equipment can last the test of time. Some facilities are asking about washing noodles equipment – which is of course possible – with soap and water. This just takes time and more organization to have less people handle the equipment. See  WaterART equipment and members receive 20% off and over $500.00 is 25% off.

5) The risky part of a program will be if there are close encounters in a change room. Ideally, have only one entrance and only one exit and have people go in and out of the pool individually and staggered. If they may change and shower at home -that is ideal.

6)The instructor must do more visual cuing to conduct where the group is traveling or how they are moving. In water, although traveling people is best for intensity and balance challenge, this is a time to prioritize safety to efficacy. Stay with basic moves that everyone may follow and understand.

7) The instructor is responsible for maintaining proper spacing of a group. Although we have not used whistles (as this is a lifeguard’s tool) this may be the time to use this should someone be in someone else’s zone. Ideally the lifeguard should manage the spacing however, often the instructor sees how their people move and get into danger first.

8) Know who your high risk patrons are (people with any asthma or multi-medical conditions) and the highest risk is our senior population. You may want to recommend they not partake until we know more about the transfer of the virus in the group exercise environment and you have programs that are running smoothly and safely.

9) Do not wear a mask in pool; however, a washable mask is necessary in the change room or anywhere that clients are in close quarters. A mask protects the person from spreading the virus and is not a defense to contracting the virus. WaterART now manufactures masks to match our outfit and more importantly help limit the spread of this disease. These are 100% polyester and washable.  Masks should fit tightly and you may put the mask around your neck with the drawstring -to wear to come to the pool, to go towards someone if you have to, and to leave the pool. Our corporate mission is to limit  waste in our landfills so disposable gloves and masks are our new invention.

10) Stagger where you place your water bottles – and  have patrons write name on water bottles and have different spots to stow their bottles on the side of the pool. Have an organized time to drink water and be sure that patrons do not get too close getting to their water bottle.

11) Do not shout cues. Do not sing or yell or spew out through the mouth. There are many forms of breathing. Specific to the virus breath in and out through the nose. Realize that oxygen capacity is decreased and this is not an ideal technique; however, safety  supersedes  efficacy. WaterART sells a voice amplifier ( a rechargeable unit that is for deck work only – not waterproof ). This has been my saving grace over the years traveling because the Instructor may talk at a normal volume and turn up the volume so that you may be heard on a football field = yes, it is that loud. The instructor simply aims the unit at the people exercising.

12) Instructor should be positioned in a class  Teach on deck only and if not able to stand then use a chair (if teaching aquatic fitness on deck so that you may monitor and keep everyone spaced properly and safely. Always face your group so you may see their face = also when exercising if everyone is facing the same way – less chance of spew.

all students properly and be sure that everyone is physical distancing properly.

13) Exercise outdoors when possible. Fresh air and ventilation is helpful to prevent viruses and other pathogens from spreading.

14)  Be sure that the facility is sanitizing between classes.

15) Always review the rules prior to a giving your class and then remind clients how to safely leave the class or program.

We know the pandemic has taken away many livelihoods including the fitness industry. This crisis has also taken away the regular routine of feeling good and improving ones health with many social,  physically and psychological benefits. As an optimistic service industry we can discover many more ways to make little changes that will make a big difference with people’s lives.  Please let us know how you are redesigning your fitness programs and any other suggestions to help everyone stay safe and well.
Email us your experience or ideas.