It’s Mental Health Awareness Month - exercise your body and mind

Elizabeth Howe
May 17, 2019 - 1:27 pm
Fitness for Mental Health Awareness Month

Photo courtesy of Catch a Lift Foundation

For Mental Health Awareness Month, we've compiled a list of fitness programs, gyms, and activities that have helped veterans overcome mental health challenges in all sorts of cool ways in gyms, on horseback, and up rock walls. 

HOW THIS VETERAN HELPS OTHERS FIND PEACE THROUGH FREE GYM SUBSCRIPTIONS


Since 2015, Bohannon’s non-profit, Make a Vet Sweat has gifted over 250 gym subscriptions to veterans in Texas, in an attempt to keep vets active in the years after leaving the military. 

 

FROM RANGERS TO ROCKS

Germany to Missouri to Afghanistan and back, there’s one aspect of Andrew Potter’s life that never changed: rock climbing. So when he left the military after three tours in Afghanistan, he knew exactly how he would continue serving others.

 

VETERAN-TURNED-PERSONAL TRAINER: FIGHTING PTSD WITH CROSSFIT

"You don't have a chance to stop and think about your day or a chance to think of something stressing you out. You don't have a chance to do anything other than workout and you have a whole team cheering you on as you do it. That's basically the military world," Critton said.

 

CATCH A LIFT HONORS 9/11 VETERAN BY HELPING OTHERS THROUGH PHYSICAL FITNESS

Since its founding, Catch a Lift has helped thousands of post-9/11 veterans regain their mental and physical health — in the gym.

 

ADAPTIVE CROSSFIT HELPS DISABLED VETS THRIVE

"I'm more fit after my injuries and now that I'm technically disabled," Zirkenbach said during an appearance on the Morning Briefing radio show. "And that can be the case for any service member who's transitioning out, I recommend finding a good CrossFit gym and checking it out... I think that would be a great process for any vet, but especially our disabled community."

 

VETS "WALKING OFF THE WAR" WITH WARRIOR EXPEDITIONS

"I got out in the spring of 2012, and before starting grad school that fall, I decided to check off a bucket list item and hike all 2,190 miles of the Appalachian Trail," said Gobin, founder of Warrior Expeditions. "While I was on the trail, I kind of had an epiphany about how therapeutic the experience was which spurred the idea that doing long distance hikes could also be beneficial to other veterans that were coming home from the wars." 

 

HEALING ON HORSEBACK

There's a long history with horses and the military but in the modern era, the relationship has changed. While horses once carried our forces into battle, these days they are helping them ride away from the after-effects. 

 

PHOTOS: WOUNDED WARRIORS BIKE WITH SOLDIER RIDE

For the last twelve years, Soldier Ride D.C. with Wounded Warrior Project has taken wounded veterans out on the road with custom-fitted bikes.
 

YOGA INSTRUCTORS TAILOR TEACHINGS FOR MILITARY, VETERANS

“Yoga calmed my mind and showed that it’s OK to take 10 minutes to ‘connect to my breath,’ ” Vaughn says. “It saved my life.”

 

If you’re a Veteran in crisis or concerned about one, there are helpful, qualified VA responders standing by to help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. VA Crisis Line call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1. ​

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