YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The pandemic has taken a physical and mental toll on many, especially those at the heart of it. Local frontline workers are opening up about how they’ve been using exercise to cope with the stresses of the pandemic.
“We’re approaching, I believe, our 22nd month of this pandemic, and it has changed me more than I can explain,” said Amy Kale, a frontline ICU nurse.
Medical professionals are the ones who dedicate their lives to helping others, but it’s not as often that we hear about how they keep themselves in shape physically and mentally.
Davine George is a respiratory therapist and she says she attends Mega Barre in Youngstown.
“We still need an outlet and we still need to let go. We need to get rid of some of our frustration, so coming to the gym and being active and taking care of ourselves will only be better for our patients,” George said.
George Maidaa, a physician who has been at the frontlines of the pandemic, also says now more than ever it’s important to have an escape from the stress at work.
“It helps me focus. Those 45 minutes actually, I’m shaking all the time, so I just focus on me and my form, keeping my strength, and it actually helps me in the hospital, too, to kind of put yourself in that zone. Focus on what you need to do. How to treat that patient. How to make them feel better. How to talk to families,” Maidaa said.
Beyond the physical benefits of exercise, joining fitness groups has helped frontline workers to feel connected.
Kale says she often feels completely isolated from others at work.
“Exercising and joining a community and being with like-minded people that look at wellness and fitness as a priority in their life helps,” she said.
Kale says working out is her release.
She says if it weren’t for staying active, she doesn’t think she’d have the physical or mental stamina to do what she does.
“Whatever your fitness level is or whatever you do, whether it’s 10 minutes a day, 60 minutes a day, whatever it is, it’s better and you’re better for it,” Kale said.
Frontline workers encourage others to follow their lead and be active.
They says exercise is an immunity booster that can help your lungs and overall health.