According to a recent article from the American Psychological Association, stress from 2020 is really affecting the mental health of people, especially the younger generation.  More than one in three adults in the U.S. have reported symptoms of anxiety or depression this year.  From the pandemic, the upcoming election, racism, and being bombarded with negative news, this year has been unlike any other we’ve experienced.  

One thing we know is that regular exercise can have a profoundly positive impact on our overall well being – from reducing stress to a more balanced mood.  Going for a run, walk or bike ride definitely releases stress – however, why not have fun and feel good while doing it?  Tracy Gyurina of Yorba Linda, CA can attest to that. After witnessing her best friend get shot and pass away next to her at the Route 91 concert in Vegas, Gyurina was left to work through the trauma of living through the experience, sending her to a dark place. To make matters worse, her long-time relationship came to an abrupt  halt.

As 2020 began, Gyruina was feeling unhappy with herself in a variety of aspects. She decided that her birthday present to herself needed to be a year of personal focus. 

Needless to say, as a 37 year old Elementary School Principal during a pandemic she’s been dealing with an extremely stressful year. As a former dancer Tracy found AKT, the celebrity-loved dance cardio workout, adorned by the likes of Shakira and Alicia Keys to name a few.  The opportunity to move her body in a positive environment whether it was in class or via in her living room on Zoom, changed her outlook on everything. She even credits AKT for helping build her confidence back.  She is able to leave the stress at the door, dance her heart out and finish the workout with enough positive energy that carries her through until her next workout.  

Tracy lives by the quote “be the change you wish to see in the world”. “In life, we live by example. If I am not nourishing myself and taking care of myself both physically and mentally, I am not setting a good example to others who look to me for guidance. If I am not well, I cannot be well for others. Mental health is just as important as physical health, but most of the time you can work on both simultaneously, and that is exactly what AKT has done for me. Carving out the time to workout and better yourself in a positive environment does wonders for one’s mental health. It goes hand in hand. Even on my toughest work days, when I am feeling exhausted and defeated, I make my way to AKT because by the end of class I have replenished my cup and I am in a positive mood ready to conquer whatever life throws my direction with clarity, positivity, and determination. All in all, find something that you love and stick with it. Change requires hard work, but AKT will support you every step of the way”, states Gyurina.


  • Eraina Ferguson

    Writer, Advocate, and People Lover

    My Good Life

    Eraina Ferguson is a creative nonfiction writer currently penning a memoir about raising a daughter with autism and deafness. Her story was featured in “The New Haven Register” She holds an M.Ed in Education and an MAR in Religion from Yale University. Learn more about her here: