With most, if not all health clubs and fitness facilities closed, or in a quasi-opened state, thank God that we live in the age of technology. For many of us, being “quarantined” does not have to stop us from conducting business as usual.
We know for a fact that exercise can help boost the immune system. This should be reason enough for EVERYONE to be moving, not using this time as an opportunity to catch-up on Netflix and bake cookies (although that can be done in moderation – especially if you exercise).
These are some great “selling” points to either get, or keep, people moving during this time of self-quarantine and panic.
In one study in the American Journal of Medicine, women who walked for a half-hour every day for 1 year had half the number of colds as those who didn’t exercise. Researchers found that regular walking may lead to a higher number of white blood cells, which fight infections.
In another study, researchers found that in 65-year-olds who did regular exercise, the number of T-cells — a specific type of white blood cell — was as high as those of people in their 30s.
A study published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine in 2011 found that moderate exercise of walking improved immune response and reduced incidence of upper respiratory illness.
People who engaged in regular moderate exercise — such as five days a week of walking 45 minutes each session over 15 weeks — reduced their number of sick days by up to half, compared to sedentary people.
However, too much intense exercise, such as more than 90 minutes of high-intensity endurance training, has been linked to reduced immunity.
Here are some great alternatives to in-person training:
1. Skype, Facetime, or Zoom training
These are great options for those that are tech-savvy enough to use them. Keep in mind that there are still many people that have difficulty with technology. Since you will be able to eliminate travel time and can do this from the comfort of your own home, maybe you can drop your rate. For most people a half-hour session will do the trick! You can charge for a month at a time, taking into consideration the amount of time and the days that you will conduct your sessions. If someone wants M/W/F at 11-11:30, they need to commit to the month. For those that can’t or don’t want to commit, give them some off-hour choices. If they are existing clients, you already have their health history questionnaire, medical clearance (if warranted), and liability release. If you are looking to market yourself to new clients, make sure that you obtain all paperwork prior to your first session.
2. Personalized video training
This may also require a bit of technological prowess, but less than the former. Offer to create a customized exercise video once a week for 1, 2, or 3 months. This can include a warm-up, stretching, strength training, balance, lymph drainage, etc. based on the person’s individual needs. The video could be 30, 45, or 60 minutes. You can price these according to how long a video they want and how many months they commit to. This is also nice because it doesn’t all have to be done at once. For those people who are overwhelmed by the thought of half an hour of exercise, you can ease them into the concept by encouraging them to do one ten-minute session at a time. If they are existing clients, you already have their health history questionnaire, medical clearance (if warranted), and liability release. If you are looking to market yourself to new clients, make sure that you obtain all paperwork prior to delivery of workout videos. You may even be able to use some of your video content and post it on a YouTube Channel and start building your video library.
3. Phone Consultations
Just about everyone knows how to operate a phone, so this is a universal solution. Even for those in another country, you can use Whatsapp. Offer to check-in with your client by phone 1, 2, or 3 times per week following their own workouts. Perhaps this is a follow-up for those who you are making videos for (making sure that they are doing them, that they are not experiencing pain or negative side-effects, or seeing if anything needs to be tweaked), or they could stand on their own (the client wants to do their own “thing,” but wants the accountability from you). You can use this time to ask them things like level of difficulty/exertion, any aches or pains, energy level, what are they eating and when, how much sleep are they getting, etc.
Andrea Leonard is the Founder and President of the Cancer Exercise Training Institute. She is a certified as a corrective exercise specialist by The National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), as a personal trainer by The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), the American Council on Exercise (ACE), and as a Special Populations Expert by The Cooper Institute. She is also a continuing education provider for the National Academy of Sports Medicine and The American Council on Exercise.