A WOMAN'S only fitness and wellbeing centre has set up a series of walks to help its members feel comfortable being back together again.

iCan Health and Fitness, based in Carlisle, has spent the last 12 months adapting to new regulations and the challenges posed by lockdown.

Managing director, Lisa Dykes, said that the group was now taking its first steps out of lockdown with a number of walks to help ease the anxieties of members, following such a tumultuous year.

“Over lockdown we’ve delivered Zoom or Teams classes to keep the community active,” she explained.

“We were looking to add to that a variety and get people out and about in the fresh air again.

"We want to help people mix again and so we have set up our 'Bouncing Babes' walking group once more.

“We also do a peer-to-peer support group called Walk to Talk which is all about improving your emotional wellbeing through being out in the country with your peers, sharing your experiences and having the openness and support to talk about whatever is going on in your life at that moment.

"So that is more for those more sensitive conversations, which is so important for people right now.”

Lisa has already noticed the impact that the sessions are having on many members, with a mix of online and in-person sessions now here to stay.

“Some of these ladies have not been able to leave their homes in a year,” she said.

“One thing we have noticed with members coming back is that there is undeniably a lot of anxiety and nervousness which has come out of lockdown and also from things slowly becoming that bit more normal again and so there’s been a big push from us to give people a slice of normality.”

Lisa's next challenge comes in the form of addressing the long-term effects that the past year has had on the mental health of so many people.

“It’s so important to us to bring a community together," she added.

“Getting that social engagement together in any way, shape or form and get people laughing and talking together again – for us as a business that’s what it’s all about."