WINDHAM, N.Y. – Due to the poor air quality the Canadian wildfires brought to the Catskills, the Adaptive Sports Foundation’s (ASF) Warriors in Motion (WIM) mountain biking program featured less biking than originally planned. Instead, the three-day event featured yoga, games and stress reduction techniques.
Five U.S. military veterans met with ASF staff and volunteers at noon this past Tuesday at the Gwen Allard Adaptive Sports Center to share a lunch together and to get fitted for their bikes and equipment. Program manager Tony Vasile gave a quick tutorial on how to safely operate a mountain bike before he led the WIM group onto the ASF shuttle bus and headed out to Elm Ridge in East Windham. The group ventured into the woods and rode on Elm Ridge’s Warm-Up Loop for its only ride of the week. After they finished, the veterans left to check into their hotels before returning to the ASF lodge for dinner.
Wednesday’s Air Quality Index (AQI) was above 170, and an AQI of above 150 is deemed to be unhealthy. The ASF decided that it would be best not to mountain bike and exercise outdoors that day. Instead, the warriors and volunteers began their day going out to breakfast together at the Windham Diner. After a good meal to start the morning, the group then ventured to Mountain Breeze Yoga to stretch their bodies and clear their minds with a yoga session and sound therapy. The veterans then returned to the ASF Lodge to play some cards and to compete in a friendly cornhole competition before having dinner at 5 p.m.
Unfortunately, Thursday’s AQI was close to 200, causing the veterans and volunteers to remain inside again in the ASF lodge. Vasile led a yoga session and a meditation session in the morning before the warriors ate lunch and departed.
“I enjoy myself every time I visit ASF. The biggest thing that happened this week specifically was that we were able to put our mind to the muscle, and not the other way around,” warrior Erik Morales-Goroshko said. “Usually we muscle through an activity, but doing yoga and meditation this week was really good for my mental health.”
The ASF’s Warriors in Motion program provides participating injured United States servicemen and women with a basic knowledge and practice of wellness and the importance of lifelong healthy living. Each event includes adaptive sports and nutrition instruction, as well as other healthful practices such as yoga and stress reduction techniques. ASF views the time that veterans spend together as an essential part of their healing, so the foundation makes sure that there are periods of downtime that the participants can use to connect with each other. All WIM programs are goal-oriented and empower the warrior to take charge of their own fitness and wellness.
The ASF’s next WIM event will take a small group of veterans into the woods for a backpacking/camping trip, and it will take place on June 20-22. This will be the first fully outdoors trip the ASF has hosted since the summer of 2021. Thanks to generous donations given to the organization, the Adaptive Sports Foundation will be able to provide backpacks, camping supplies, water bottles, all meals, snacks, water, sports drinks, sunscreen, bug spray, ponchos (if necessary) and trail maps for the upcoming event.
If you’d like to donate to the Adaptive Sports Foundation’s Warriors in Motion program, or any of the other programs the ASF has to offer, click here.