Developing a passion for health + fitness is a process — it’s not easy to make the healthiest choice in every situation [that’s what #balance is all about!]. ++ discovering that passion is a journey. Some of us were introduced to living a healthy lifestyle by our parents, some may have found it through childhood sports, but sometimes a major life event is the key turning point. ++ for Maddie Lanham, that was just the case.
She was active throughout her childhood, but health + fitness weren’t her top priority until she was in high school. “At the age of 17, I was in a severe car accident. I had had personal trainers since I was 12 years old, but fitness became super crazy important after my car wreck. I was in a coma 2 weeks + wasn’t expected to be where I am at today.
When my neurologist released me he said he had done all he could for me + all that could help me move forward was exercise, nutrition + sleep. I have definitely found this to be true. Every day I wake up + no matter how I am feeling I head to the gym. Exercise just makes me feel better + I do see an improvement everyday. At the rehab center I couldn’t even walk or get out of bed on my own. The therapists helped me exercise every day. From day one coming home from Frazier rehab center I have exercised + not missed a day for over 2 + a half years!
My first day home my mom would get me up help me get dressed + help me get on a stationary bike. She would set it for 5 minutes. I did this for several weeks + kept increasing as time went by. I was also given balance exercises from very first day home from rehab. I would hold onto the bar in our kitchen + do my balance exercises for 15 min every day. We also worked on brain exercises like crossword puzzles + games.
I have gone from not being able to get out of bed dress myself or shower on my own to being a successful college student living in a dorm + participating in many club activities including CHAARG, a member of snowcats outdoor club, + tennis. I attribute the physical + mental achievements mostly to exercise. Sleep + nutrition just add to my success! Two + a half years ago I got the best advice I’ll ever get in my life — Exercise, sleep, + nutrition are what we need to help us move forward.
At this point, doctors say all I can do to help myself in the recovery process is to continue to eat healthy + stay active. My doctor said most people who end up with a traumatic brain injury need depression meds. He told me if I worked out an hour a day 5 days a week then I would most likely not need those meds. Currently, I have yet to need depression meds, I can say that happily!”
With such a passion for staying active, it was pretty much fate that Maddie found CHAARG while at the University of Kentucky. “I was going to join a regular sorority, but they all felt like high school all over again + what they thought was important was irrelevant to me. CHAARG is exactly what I needed to be a part of in college! Honestly I thought about transferring but CHAARG changed my mind. CHAARG is very motivational + working out makes me happy in general. Belonging to an all girls workout group is the BEST! CHAARG has made me love college even more because, every week, I am looking forward to trying a new workout class.”
++ after experiencing a life changing event, what message does Maddie want women everywhere to know? “Well for starters, in order to feel great about yourself + have high self-esteem you should try to get some form of a workout in 5 days week! It could potentially prevent you from needing depression meds too. Your happiness is all that matters at the end of the day!”
“Your journey has molded you for your greater good, + it was exactly what it needed to be. Don’t think you’ve lost time. There is no short-cutting to life. It took each + every situation you have encountered to bring you to the now. ++ now is right on time.”
#CHAARGJourney highlights our members’ amazing journeys through CHAARG — physically, mentally, emotionally. Continue to follow Maddie’s CHAARG Journey on instagram — @maddiegracenchaarguk. ++ join CHAARG at the University of Kentucky here: UK CHAARG Membership.