The Waterside Hotel and Leisure Club has invested in upskilling PTs and instructors, in partnership with Your Personal Training, to create a long-COVID rehab hub for Greater Manchester. With the North-West hard hit by the pandemic, people in this part of the UK are disproportionately likely to be classed as ‘extremely clinically vulnerable’.
Along with 11 others, I was put through the CAWS UK training, which focuses on the rehabilitation of people with long-COVID who need a more bespoke approach.
I have one client who still experiences breathing difficulties five months after infection and the CAWS training prompted me to look more deeply into breathing methods, especially those linked with anxiety and relieving stress stimuli.
I started using parasympathetic breathing with my client, including diaphragmatic breathing and controlled exhalation. This helped with the acute onset symptoms of stress and anxiety around breathing.
Secondly, I added some pursed lip breathing, concentrating on deep inhalation, to expand my client’s lung capacity and to increase oxygen proliferation through their alveoli. This will help with the chronic fatigue many COVID-19 sufferers have sustained. Finally, we focused on the role CO2 plays. I applied this mainly with breath-hold work and nasal breathing. This produces nitric oxide and slows the rate of breath during exercise, allowing the body to feed oxygen more efficiently, which again decreases stress and fatigue.
The goal here is holistic, so although I’d tracked each session with a pulse oximeter and followed a slow progression, the breathing exercises are built on feedback from the client. These breathing methods, incorporated with the other CAWs modalities, have seen her able to work up to a point where she can do full one-to-one sessions again, allowing her more rapid, whole-body recovery.
Creating more hubs
Your Personal Training is reviewing demand from the Manchester pilot and looking to work with operators to upskill more PTs to create further COVID hubs in other parts of the UK.
Customers will need to be eased back from COVID-19, and a vast range of specific health issues need to be addressed by trained experts, including fatigue, dizziness, cardiovascular and muscle deterioration.
A six-week GP referral is not necessarily going to be appropriate or long enough for some long-COVID sufferers to recover. In these situations, personal training is a long-term solution to a long-term health problem.
The CAWS training prompted me to look more deeply into breathing methods, especially those linked with anxiety and relieving stress stimuli