By Markese Hayden, Fitness & Wellness Director, Edward A. Myerberg Center 

The year of 2020 has brought many challenges that have adversely affected the health of numerous Americans. Yes, there is the apparent physical health challenges COVID-19 has presented for us, but the underlying component that has possibly suffered the most is our mental health.

The onset of COVID-19 has forced us into a time of self-isolation, fear, and an overall feeling of the unknown. As fitness and wellness director of the Edward A. Myerberg Center, I work with the active aging population daily.

I often ask them, ‘What is the worst part of the COVID-19 pandemic?’ The responses I receive often are missing loved ones, loneliness and feeling tired. Hearing their responses breaks my heart because I wish there were more that I could do to help their mental health.

Fortunately, there is a proven method that can help combat the negative physical and mental effects of COVID-19. That effective method is simply called exercise.

According to a study, “exercise has been shown to improve mental health by reducing anxiety, depression and negative mood and by improving self-esteem and cognitive function. Exercise has also been proven to alleviate symptoms such as low self-esteem and social withdrawal.”

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The Associated Contributors

The Associated Contributors are writers from The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore.