Assisted Living Facility Holds Balcony Fitness Classes

Elderly men and women living at Merrill Gardens Senior Living are adapting to their COVID-19 quarantine by exercising from their balconies

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Inspired by groups of Italians who sang to each other from their balconies while isolated due to the threat of COVID-19, leaders at a senior living facility in San Diego's Bankers Hill neighborhood decided to do something similar.

It's just heart warming to see all of them out on their balconies

Marina Kahn

Every morning the elderly men and women at Merrill Gardens are encouraged to step out onto their balconies for some exercise.

Marina Kahn, the fitness instructor who used to lead classes inside the facility, now stands in the middle of 2nd Ave. in a bright colored shirt while shouting out instructions to her students.

"I've been exercising with them for the past two years, so I know them pretty well and it's just heartwarming to see all of them out on their balconies," said Kahn.

Thankfully, none of the 90 or so residents at Merrill Gardens have shown symptoms of COVID-19, but the facility managers aren't taking chances.

The residents, most of whom live alone, have been under an internal lockdown in their rooms for two weeks and say they miss the social interaction with their neighbors.

The exercise program runs about 30 minutes and is now the daily highlight for many of the residents. During a recent session, one resident held a sign that "Happy to See You."

Sometimes passersby on the street join the classes, as well.

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