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Training with a private trainer: is it safe now?

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Find out how safe it is to work out with a personal trainer compared to exercising in a gym.

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Working out can sometimes feel like another dreaded job, especially about eight months in one pandemic. If your exercise options are limited and motivation diminishes, you may feel itching to get back on the road a sports hall and train with a trainer again in real life. But is that even possible or safe now?

Training with a personal trainer in a private environment brings many benefits, such as personal guidance, support, motivation and the energy boost you get to work out with others. But the benefits also carry a real risk during a pandemic, even if you take precautions such as distance yourself and wear masks.

To weigh the pros and cons of exercising with trainers in private sessions, I spoke with Dr. Dean Winslow, an infectious disease physician at Stanford Health Care.

What’s Safer: Exercising Indoors With a Trainer or Going to a Gym?

When it comes to safety in a gym, some of the biggest risk factors are being indoors and around other people who are breathing heavily. “In general, the indoor environment is almost by definition the most dangerous in terms of COVID-19 contamination,” says Dr. Winslow. So no matter what kind of gym or studio you are working out in, the indoor climate is more risky compared to exercising outside.

“You have relatively less air circulation indoors,” says Dr. Winslow. “And we now know that these small-particle aerosols, generated by talking or singing, or certainly breathing hard during exercise, can linger in the air for up to three to four hours.”

The key to minimizing risk if you choose to exercise indoors is to reduce the number of people you train with, while maintaining social distance and wear a mask. For this reason, Dr. Winslow says that a one-on-one session in a studio with just one other person is much safer than going to a gym full of people. “[Exercising] outdoors is generally much safer. But I think if you absolutely have to go to the gym, the less risky option would be to do it only one-on-one with a trainer and both people wearing masks, ”says Dr. Winslow.

exercising outdoors

Exercising outside with others is less risky than indoors, according to Dr. Winslow.

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You always have to contact your gym or studio for safety precautions before you go and make sure they take the virus seriously. Some precautions to look for include mask mandates, temperature controls, extra cleanings, air filtration systems, and a social distance policy. You should also be aware that safety in any situation depends on what is happening in your community. Places where the virus spreads at higher rates are inherently more risky than places where virus rates are low.

It doesn’t matter whether you work out indoors in a gym or studio, Dr. Winslow emphasizes the importance of wearing masks in addition to social detachment. “Even the social distance, with the transfer of tiny particles aerosol, isn’t that useful. It’s better than nothing, but that’s why it’s still so important in the indoor environment that everyone wears masks,” says Dr. Winslow.

If someone is infected with the virus and doesn’t know it, face masks help reduce the chance that the person will infect others through the air. “We also now know that masks provide some level of protection to the person wearing them,” says Dr. Winslow.

In general, Dr. Winslow recommends exercising with as few people around you as possible, as the fewer people you are around (with or without masks), the lower your risk. “It’s just a matter of calculating that the fewer people there are in a room, the less likely it is statistically that one person will be asymptomatic, but infected and spread the virus,” says Dr. Winslow.

read more: Best Face Masks for Training Sessions in 2020

The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to be health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care practitioner if you have any questions about a medical condition or health goals.

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