ATLANTA (Jan. 26, 2017) – A group of veterans served by Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) recently learned new techniques for managing their physical health and wellness at an Atlanta expo. The three-day event was available to veterans of all fitness levels – no matter where they were in their recoveries. Throughout the gathering, WWP staff and coaches assisted in the physical – and emotional – challenges of the event.
“I came into the event hoping to learn how to lose weight and stay healthy,” said Army Veteran Valerie Lewis. “I want to stay motivated and make it a routine, so it becomes part of my day-to-day life. When I arrived, however, I was so nervous that I almost left.”
Valerie, like many warriors WWP serves, struggles with isolation. After serving for eight years and two tours – one in Iraq and one in Afghanistan – unfamiliar surroundings and new people left her feeling uncomfortable.
“If it wasn’t for Allison and the other Wounded Warrior Project staff, I don’t think I would’ve been able to enjoy this event,” she explained. “They made us all feel welcome. I want to meet more veterans so I am motivated to get out of the house more often. That has its challenges, but I was comforted to discover others struggle with the same things that I do – and they understand what I am going through.”
WWP veterans fitness program events support the long-term recovery needs of warriors by reintroducing them and their families to the unique bonds experienced during military service. In a WWP survey of the injured warriors it serves, more than half of survey respondents (51.7 percent) talked with fellow Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, or Operation New Dawn veterans to address their mental health issues, and 29.6 percent expressed physical activity helps.
Participants at the event enjoyed yoga, weight training, seminars on healthy eating, and TRX (Total Body Resistance Exercise) training.
“The staff put us to work on the TRX system and showed us how to use it effectively – and how to use it at home,” Valerie said. “For those of who don’t have a gym, this is a great system.”
Physical fitness and weight training were only part of the expo. The staff and trainers also explained the fundamentals of nutrition and maintaining healthy habits. The seminars were hosted in a casual setting, offering warriors a chance to ask questions and chat with staff about their health concerns.
“I loved the fact that when they talked about nutrition, it wasn’t a list of things you can’t have,” Valerie said. “They explained it as ‘we love chocolate too, but you can’t have it all the time, so do this instead.’ And ‘carbs aren’t bad; you just have to manage it.’ Moderation and paying attention to portion sizes was the big theme they drove home, and they gave us a meal planner to help with that.”
Valerie lives in an area that makes gym accessibility very difficult, but WWP provided her and the other event participants with tools that make home workouts possible.
“They gave us mini-TRX kits, so I’ve started doing those workouts at home,” she said. “What they showed us made sense to me, and I learned how simple it is to do on my own. The event itself has really made a big difference for me so far, and I can’t wait to go to other gatherings. I’m very glad Wounded Warrior Project showed us how to stay motivated – and that there are people out there who have our backs.”
To find photos from this event, click on multimedia, then images.
Contact: Mattison Brooks – Public Relations Specialist
About Wounded Warrior Project
Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) connects, serves, and empowers wounded warriors. Read more at https://newsroom.woundedwarriorproject.org.