Bedford PT provides training, support and hope for Long Covid sufferers


A personal trainer from Bedford has completed training to deliver Long Covid recovery support to help sufferers back to fitness.

Larissa Clarke, who runs Transition Coaching, was inspired to take the course in order to help one of her clients, Marianna Slivnitskaya.

As readers may remember, the Bedford Independent interviewed Marianna about the devastating consequences of Long Covid and how it has affected her life and her return to fitness.

Read: “I can’t remember what it feels like to feel fit,” says 42-year-old ‘long COVID’ sufferer

“Marianna had read about the CAWS Rebuild course on a Long Covid Facebook group that she’s on,” explained Larissa. “I wanted to do whatever I could to help her recovery, so I spent a lot of time researching the course and questioning the people running it before I committed.

“With so many people predicted to be suffering from the after-effects of Covid, it was really important to me that the training was credible and would be constantly updated as new findings about the condition emerge.”

Larissa is among 300 other people who have completed the CAWS ‘Rebuild’ course with the aim to support anyone affected by the after-effects of Covid.

“What I’ve learned in the time I’ve completed the course is just phenomenal,” said Larissa.

“Not only is the fatigue that sufferers experience profound, but there is also shame, guilt and secrecy.

“Many people with Long Covid are trying to hold down a job or don’t want their family to worry about them. And it’s hitting people who were previously very fit, who are not used to being unable to exercise.”

Marianna described Long Covid as, “being stuck in a body that is not yours and wondering how you’ll cope if it lasts any longer, how your loved ones have been affected, how to continue with work and how you’ll cope once lockdown is lifted.”

Marianna Slivnitskaya after she’d completed the Bedford half marathon

She said: “We grieve the loss of our old life and generally feel powerless and often struggle to look beyond the worst-case scenario.

“We also often deny that anything is wrong as there are some good days when we feel a bit more like our old self, this is when we push through things and often end up with a big relapse and in an even darker place.

“As a result we often feel cut off from friends and family who can’t understand what we are going through.”

Along with learning to help those struggling in the wake of Covid, Larissa is also providing support to those returning to exercise after lockdown, people who have had to shield who now want to change their lifestyle and people who want to improve their fitness and health to avoid the fatal consequences of Covid.

“For anyone who was previously fit and active, recovering from Long Covid can be really frustrating,” said Larissa.

“One of the main areas of support is managing clients’ expectations and reining them in from trying to do too much too soon.

“It is possible to get back to better fitness but it’s got to be done slowly.”

Larissa is already working with a number of clients, both in Bedford and further afield, on their road to recovery.

“Long Covid is completely debilitating for many sufferers, with unpredictable relapses and some terrifying symptoms including feeling like you’re having a heart attack or a stroke,” said Larissa.

“As a recovery coach I’m constantly updating my knowledge and learning new approaches as new evidence about Long Covid emerges.”

Marianna has begun working with Larissa on her recovery programme and says that she feels hope for the first time for nearly a year.

Larissa said: “I will do anything I can to support Marianna and anyone else suffering with this and I’m grateful that I’m able to make a difference.”

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