Jacksonville veterans use fitness, nutrition to treat PTSD

Wounded Warrior Project teams up with YMCA for wellness project

By Ethan Calloway - Anchor/reporter, Ashley Mitchem - Reporter, anchor

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Twenty-six Jacksonville veterans with PTSD and physical injuries worked toward a healthier lifestyle Sunday, learning simple workout routines to get them in shape.

"They are all post 9/11 wounded vets, all members of Wounded Warrior Project, and they need help with nutrition, weight loss, and how to exercise," said David Mynett, a wellness specialist with the Wounded Warrior Project.

Working out and eating healthy has been shown to help veterans battling Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The YMCA gym welcomed the men and women with 13 workout stations, set up for circuit training.

The Wounded Warrior Project conducted a survey in which 30 percent of veterans said that exercise helps them cope with stress.

Veterans often have a difficult time adjusting to civilian life when they return home, a WWP representative said. "It's kind of like leaving team spirit, so a lot do feel isolated, not knowing who to speak to. They don't know how to reach out for help."

Chad Maddux knows firsthand. He was an Apache helicopter pilot and an instructor pilot in the US Army and also deals with PTSD. "There are different challenges for everybody. Some people it may be a small trigger -- for me, it's fireworks. If I hear them, that's my trigger," Maddux said. "Everybody is different. It's just something you have to learn -- to calm down, to get through -- and this helps. Learning breathing techniques, eating techniques, it all helps."

Other veterans agreed, adding that the Wounded Warrior Project has been helpful in many ways, getting their lives back to normal.

"They gave me tools, assistance, and help with my family," Army veteran William Velez said. "It's been in my life since getting out of the military."

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