A fitness trainer is running fun socially distanced workouts in the street for her older female neighbours.
Irma Beruckaite, 39, runs three sessions a week with more than a dozen attendees, all stood two metres apart on the street or on their driveway.
The group barely knew each other’s names before but are now planning a street party for when lockdown is lifted.
Irma said: “It makes me so happy. It is so much fun and nice to get together.
“It is something to give back to the community and I know I am doing something really good for the ladies.”
Irma usually is a freelance personal trainer and rents space in Manor Gym branches across central London – but can’t at the moment due to lockdown.
Her 30 to 45 minute street use household goods such as tins of beans for tricep and bicep exercises, and each woman has a dining chair for balance.
Irma said some will stay and chat after each session, maintaining their distance, or ask advice how to improve they doctors given physio exercise and more knowledge.
Some participants, aged between 46 and 78, have issues such as asthma, high blood pressure and hip or knee replacements.
The idea came after a neighbour who knew she was a personal trainer asked if she would consider running classes.
“I thought I would give it a go,” she said. “I thought it was a nice thing to do for my community.”
She ran the first class on the first week of lockdown and now wants to keep them going beyond lockdown in an effort to connect the street’s estimated 70 households.
She has lived in her rented Arnos Grove house in North London for more than 16 years but did not know all her neighbours.
Her sessions hope to keep the street active while curing the ‘slow killer’ of loneliness.
She said: “Being alone you have nobody to bounce off, and having nobody to talk to will have massive effect on any person’s mental health – young or old.
“So for ladies just to get out of home is something exciting to do, something to look forward to.
“It makes them keep going , getting ready , keeps focus not to miss the next session and I guess they look forward to having laughter and fun.
“A little bit of exercise is the best healer in the world in these uncertain times.”
Irma’s father sadly died by suicide when she was just 11 and her brother also took his life four years ago.
Growing up quickly to provide for the family, she found exercise made her happy and it is her mission to help others improve their mental health through fitness too.
“For me exercise is one of those things – it just makes you happy. You have so much energy after, you can accomplish anything you want,” she said.