Jericho, N.Y. (August 16, 2016) – One of the biggest challenges wounded veterans face during their recovery is living healthy and active lifestyles. Years of regimented physical training during military service can be a far cry from the level of physical activity they experience in civilian life. Combined with bodily injuries that may limit movements or exercise, it can be difficult for wounded veterans to maintain their health. That is why Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) hosts programs and summits that help warriors explore healthy lifestyles through fitness training, nutrition, and cooking.
When Air National Guard veteran Peter Grajewski walked into his first WWP program gathering, a fitness summit, he didn’t know anyone but quickly recognized other warriors were there for the same reason.
“When I walked in, I was immediately greeted by the staff, who started introducing me to other veterans,” Peter explained. “I was nervous at first. However, the atmosphere was very relaxed since all of us had a common experience in our military service. We all got along very quickly.”
After getting to know fellow wounded warriors, it was time to get down to business. Coaches and staff explained exercises and movements to the warriors, encouraging them to lift in modified ways and approach their fitness goals with their injuries in mind. The coaches pushed the warriors to go beyond their comfort zones and challenge themselves. Peter immediately realized that weight added to an exercise is not always the most demanding aspect.
“The coaches were teaching us methods for lifting weights without using a lot of heavy weight so we can get stronger,” Peter said. “Completing the exercises with proper technique was very difficult. A lot of us work out, but we don’t follow a precise approach. This session was extremely helpful because now I know I am doing it right, which helps me prevent injury.”
Nutritional coaching and cooking classes were also part of the fitness summit, and Peter was able to tackle another area overlooked in healthy lifestyles – what you eat and why. “I learned even top athletes eat carbohydrates, so I should not stay away from them but learn how to incorporate them into my diet in a way that will work for me.”
Through WWP’s health and wellness programs, wounded veterans can reduce stress and depression while participating in fun, active, and educational activities. WWP meets injured warriors in various stages of recovery and provides health and fitness services that include weight training, yoga, cycling, outdoor activities, and nutrition workshops. Along with the benefits of living active lifestyles, warriors have the chance to bond with other wounded veterans and families to discover they are not alone in their recovery.
Peter said the chance to be around other warriors like him was an “extremely rewarding” part of his day. He said the only thing better about the summit was the food served by WWP to the warriors.
“That was the best part,” he explained enthusiastically. “The food alone made the whole trip. We had grilled asparagus wrapped in meat, several different types of salads. I couldn’t recommend this experience enough to others – WWP really made all of us feel special and welcomed.”