FOR twin sisters Chloé and Francesca Townsend exercise is a way of life.

Ten years ago the pair, now 28, started teaching Zumba classes after studying exercise to music at Colchester Institute.

The success of the classes inspired them to create a business helping people to keep active and positive.

Since then they have taught classes, hosted warm ups for events around the UK and now have built an online aspect of their business after the pandemic hit.

Chloé said: “While working across ten gyms we decided to create a community page where we could offer online classes via Facebook.

“Our Townsend Twins Community page has more than 90 members and we offer 14 online classes a week.

“This has allowed us to support our clients, who we would normally see in the gym, during lockdown and bring ourselves in a small revenue.

“Being self-employed we have been partially reliant on Government support.

“Our community page has proved popular so we can bring our positive energy and zest for life into people’s homes.

“We know who lives on their own so can keep in touch with them directly, one of our ladies lost her husband in March so we have kept in personal contact with her.”

And the sisters, who grew up in Tiptree, hope their classes will keep people connected and support their mental wellbeing during the pandemic.

Chloé added: “We hope people feel better once they have done one of our online classes.

“We are aware about mental wellbeing and make sure everyone feels involved and cared about.

“We think exercise helps people’s mental health because it gets their hearts pumping which release all the feelgood hormones.

“We cater for all levels of ability, so everyone feels included.”

Elaine Smith, from Messing, is one the people to have benefitted from the sisters’ classes.

She had taken part in various classes over their ten year career.

“Doing their classes is so much fun so as soon as lockdown started I messaged them and asked for personal training sessions and to join their community page,” she said.

Halstead Gazette:

“I have five mental health diagnoses and I struggle badly with anxiety amongst other problems.

“I am on heavy medication and am in therapy.

“I used to stand by the door during their classes in January and February so I could leave if I felt overwhelmed.

“I managed five minutes in the studio on the first class and gradually increased the amount of time I spent in the class.

“I was attending four classes a week for the full duration by the end of January.

“The girls brought me out of my shell and showed how fun life could be again.”

Since lockdown the exercise classes have been a vital part of Elaine’s day.

She said: “I don’t want to get out of bed in the mornings but I know I will have a class on my phone and will be immediately uplifted by both the exercise and the interaction with two such positive, caring and thoughtful girls.

“I wouldn’t have survived lockdown without them.

“Exercise in lockdown is critical for me.

“Once I have exercised I feel more able to get into the day.

“I do a lot of classes daily, walk and cycle.

“For me exercise is the real therapy and provides the much needed feelgood factor.

“I have stopped self-harming and have taken to Instagram to promote the importance of exercise on mental health.

“Chloe and Francesca have transformed my life, kept me going this year and become lifelong friends.”

This month the twins won the Fit Pro Award for Influencers which celebrate independent fitness professionals across the UK.

Chloé added: “We don’t know who nominated us and as we were up against a lot of strong competition so we never expected to win.

“We feel humbled that our work has been nationally recognised.”

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  • The Gazette is backing businesses as part of our Love Local Business campaign, which is sponsored by A-Plan, FJG and LKA.