ST. GEORGE – The early morning Workout of the Day for CrossFitters at CrossFit St. George was joined by members of veterans group Team Red, White and Blue in a special and unique fitness tribute to fallen servicemen and women on Memorial Day Monday.
The event, known as “WOD for Warriors,” was a high intesity multiple round workout called “21 Guns,” and included a 400-meter run, 21 push-ups, 21 box jumps, 15 burpees and nine pullups.
The object of the workout was to do as many rounds as possible in the span of 21 minutes.
The CrossFit St. George box, or gym, was a bustle of activity as men and women hurried from one workout to the next while motivational music blared through the speakers and coaches and workout partners yelled words of encouragement.
Though the connection between a grueling workout and veterans issues may seem tenuous to those on the outside, veteran Garrett Johnson, who organized the Southern Utah chapter of Team Red, White and Blue, said that exercise acts as a perfect stress reliever for veterans who are suffering from post traumatic stress disorder and/or depression.
An organized event like the “WOD for Warriors” also provides veterans a safe and nonthreatening environment to integrate with the world outside of their insular veteran communities, Johnson said.
“Exercise has been proven to be a great stress relief,” Johnson said, ” and it’s also a good medium to bring people out in a low-threat, low-stress environment … and get people talking to each other and build some camaraderie, some esprit de corps among fellow service members and veterans.”
The workout itself carried a great amount of significance beginning with the name – “21 Guns” – which was representative of the 21-gun salute given as a final tribute and send off to fallen soldiers, Tonya Marshall, a coach at CrossFit St. George, said.
In addition, each of the five excercises that made up the “WOD” was in honor of the five branches of the United States Armed Forces: Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines and Navy.
Marshall said of the event:
“It brings veterans that have come back and some of them have some post war depression, stress, they come back and we try to integrate them into the community so they’re not alone. We try to get them out and active in the community.”
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