James Swinnerton, one of the personal trainers working from the Waterside Hotel to provide a bespoke fitness service

Written by Sarah Lloyd

The Waterside Hotel and Leisure Club in Didsbury has partnered with YOUR Personal Training,  to upskill 12 personal trainers and instructors to create a Long COVID rehab hub in Greater Manchester, to support our community back to health.

Aaron McCulloch, Managing Director at YOUR Personal Training, which supports health clubs and leisure centres by providing access to highly qualified Personal Trainers, says: “This pandemic has damaged people’s health. It’s not simply a matter of reopening fitness centres or gyms and hoping people will come back.

"Customers need to be eased back, especially those suffering with Long COVID, which has a variety of health issues, including fatigue, dizziness, cardiovascular and muscle deterioration. The pandemic has also impacted people’s mental health, and we are seeing many customers who are feeling anxious and body conscious after nearly a year of being largely homebound.”

The instructors and PTs were put through specialist CAWS UK training, one of the UK’s leading training authorities in the rehabilitation of Long COVID, and are already working with clients who, through catching COVID, need a more bespoke approach to exercise.  The investment in training means the instructors can successfully deliver COVID recovery rehab programmes, offering expert guidance and support to clients on a one-to-one basis, in person or digitally.

James Swinnerton, one of the YOUR Personal Trainers who works out of the Waterside Hotel and Leisure Club says: “I have one client, Demet Lybar, 50, who originally caught COVID in October 2020.  She still displays some breathing difficulty six months after her original infection. The Long COVID training prompted me to look more deeply in to breathing methods, especially those linked with anxiety and relieving stress stimuli. This, incorporated with other rehabilitation techniques, has seen her body rapidly begin to recover.”

Demet Lybar still has breathing difficulties 6 months after catching Covid

Demet Lybar, says: “I’ve been working with my PT, James, for nearly three years - we have a very trusted relationship, and I knew I could rely on him with my recovery from Long COVID.  My worst COVID symptoms were difficulty breathing, a lack of smell and taste and anxiety.

" James has been working with me on many breathing exercises and has also advised me on my diet. We have done lots of stretching, some yoga and light functional exercises. James always listens to me; he’s like my therapist as well as my PT.  He is very knowledgeable and is so patient and helpful. I’m so much better now. I still I have sleeping problems and some breathing problems, but I’m hopeful this will continue to improve with time and exercise."

Aaron McCulloch says: “PTs and fitness instructors are uniquely positioned to help return our population back to health. A personalised approach to physical activity helps build people’s confidence. Programmes are designed for each individual client whatever their level of fitness or health concern maybe. PT’s understand that people have different goals and different expectations. Our trainers always become their clients’ biggest cheerleaders!”



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