Coronavirus: Physiotherapist Barry Jr. advises safe training practices for athletes

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Guyana Jaguars Physiotherapist Neil Barry Jr. shares tips on how athletes can still train and stay fit despite the spread of the pandemic coronavirus.

“As the world copes with the unprecedented and continuously evolving threat of the novel coronavirus, athletes all over the world have faced training and competition disruptions that would undoubtedly play a role on performance.

“Here are a few tips for the athletes at this time:

  • Take the spread of the illness seriously. In observing the guidelines by the World Health Organisation you are not just protecting yourself, but doing your part to protect your community. The great challenge with this illness is not so much the treatment of the virus but rather the rapid rate of spread, especially by those who do not show symptoms.
  • Take care of your aerobic system. Evidence shows that training your aerobic system at least once a week helps to maintain your level of fitness. As an athlete, now would be a good time to focus on getting in those long runs you may or may not enjoy. Public training facilities in your area could be closed at this period to limit public gatherings, but running 4-5 miles a few days a week can have several benefits beyond giving you a sound aerobic base such as helping to keep a strong immune system and building focus, self-discipline and other key traits to athletic success.
  • Self-train. Several countries have advised closures of gyms and with good reason. Keeping public gatherings to a minimum are proven ways to slow the spread of viruses such as these. This does not have to spell the end of your strength training. There are hundreds of exercises out there (many of which can be found on YouTube) to safely build strength using just your body weight or minimal equipment. Now would be a good time to bring out your resistance bands and other portable exercise tools, but also setting simple targets like getting in 100 push-ups and 500 abdominals per day are still highly beneficial.
  • Minimise training groups and observe the three-feet or more rule. If you do need to get in technical work and it becomes unavoidable, then keep your training groups to five persons or less and as far as possible observe the three-feet rule. A lot of your coaches could be at a higher risk of having a more significant reaction to the illness so do not be selfish- keep your distance.
  • Where weight training is essential- sanitize before and after use. Utilise the additional time to learn about your game and other facets of training. For a cricketer or footballer this could mean spending time reviewing footage or practicing a new drill.
  • Take the time to focus on aspects of training you might not have had the time to work on before. Different variations of the body weight plank and the Body weight Bridge are excellent tools to prevent injury and enhance performance by strengthening the glute, inner thigh and hips. A simple YouTube search can reveal a lot of safe demonstrations of those exercises.

In closing, keep in mind that the guidelines for you are no different to the rest of the world. As an athlete you are likely a role model in your community so the example you set can influence others and play a major role in the outcome of this situation.

So keep your distance and wash your hands.”

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