As a sector intrinsically linked to the health and wellbeing of the Australian community, Fitness Australia fully supports the actions of all State Health Departments and their COVID-19 strategies, including the recent second lock down in Melbourne.

Drastic times call for drastic measures.

However it is vitally important the situation is not made worse whereby essential services can no longer be provided to individuals experiencing major physical and/or mental health issues.

The benefits of exercise in combatting a wide range of physical ills are well known. Exercise is a critical factor in addressing problems associated with obesity, cardio vascular, diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, chronic disease and poor sleep patterns. What is becoming increasingly evident is also the links between exercise and good mental health.

Beyond Blue studies show that for treating mild-moderate depression, exercise can be as effective as talking therapy and medication. Exercise also promotes the release of feel-good chemicals in your brain, like endorphins and serotonin and helps you sleep better so you rest fully at night and feel more energised during the day.

As the Chief Medical Officer, Prime Minister and Federal Health Minister have all pointed out, exercise is one of the four acceptable reasons for individuals in lockdown to venture outside and this acknowledgement is most welcome.

However, there are many members of our community who rely on and need to maintain the support of qualified Personal Trainers in order to continue their vital exercise programs; even more so during another period of enforced isolation. If compliant with Fitness Australia COVID Safety Plan guidelines these one on one sessions are safe for both the client and Personal Trainer, a scenario that in winter applies equally indoors or outdoors.

Fitness Australia urges Victorian health authorities to reconsider when and where one on one exercise programs can be offered. The health and wellbeing of many Victorians now and in the immediate future depends on them.