Returning home after serving in the forces can be a huge transition and may feel overwhelming. Because during active duty, service members are used to a lifestyle that involves physical activity, discipline, and structure. From what to eat and when and how to exercise to when to sleep and wake up, nearly every aspect of life is predetermined in the armed forces. Besides, members stay in shape and healthy due to access to quality medical care and healthcare service.
However, when veterans return home, they must transition from a disciplined military lifestyle to a more self-directed one. According to the US Department of Veteran Affairs, over 19 million veterans are residing in our country. Among this distinguished group, more than 40% are aged 65 and above, while over 9 million veterans are currently registered in the VA healthcare system. These statistics underscore the significant number of veterans who require support and guidance in navigating their well-being.
If you’re a veteran and need help getting back into a healthy lifestyle, follow these eight tips to find balance and stay healthy and fit.
Prioritize Regular Medical Check-ups
Prioritizing regular medical check-ups is paramount to safeguarding the well-being of veterans. These routine examinations are pivotal in detecting and preventing various health issues, enabling early intervention and effective treatment.
Regular check-ups are even more crucial since veterans are exposed to several harmful chemicals on duty, which may have affected their health. One example is asbestos, a hazardous mineral found in military bases and work sites. Asbestos exposure can cause mesothelioma, an aggressive and deadly form of cancer that targets the lining of the lungs or abdomen and can take years to develop.
If you’re a veteran diagnosed with mesothelioma, consider getting assistance from a legal firm like Sokolove Law to learn about your rights and seek compensation. The qualified attorneys at the firm have years of experience representing veterans and their families in mesothelioma cases and can help you get the financial and medical support you need.
Engage in Physical Activity
Regular physical activity is essential for veterans to maintain their health and fitness. Physical activity not only helps in building strength and endurance but also improves cardiovascular health. Moreover, it positively impacts mental well-being by reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety, boosting mood, and lowering stress levels by releasing endorphins.
Veterans can opt for weightlifting, running, and swimming as they promote strength-building and endurance. For those who enjoy team sports, participating in organized leagues like basketball, softball, or flag football provides opportunities to stay active and connect with like-minded individuals.
Additionally, veterans can consider joining a local gym or fitness center, which offers access to various equipment and classes to cater to different fitness preferences.
Make the Right Dietary Choices
Making the right dietary choices is crucial for veterans to maintain their health and well-being. A nutrient-rich diet plays a significant role in providing the body with essential minerals and vitamins for optimal functioning and reducing the risk of various health conditions like heart problems, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
Incorporating various fruits and vegetables into meals is essential for veterans as these foods contain vital nutrients that help reduce inflammation, improve digestion, and support overall health. Additionally, lean protein sources like chicken, fish, and legumes are important for building and repairing muscle tissue and keeping the body strong and healthy.
Also, including whole grains in the diet is beneficial as they are rich in complex carbohydrates and fiber, which regulate blood sugar levels and promote healthy digestion. Moreover, limit processed foods as much as possible as they contain high sodium, sugar, and unhealthy fat.
Work Your Mind and Body
Nurturing both the mind and body is essential for veterans to lead a happy, healthy life. Mind-body practices like Tai Chi, yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises can profoundly affect overall well-being.
One remarkable benefit of these practices is their ability to reduce stress and anxiety, which are significant concerns for many veterans. By calming the mind and body, these practices promote relaxation and help veterans manage their emotions, fostering a greater sense of peace and tranquility in their daily lives.
Moreover, mind-body practices offer physical health advantages. Tai Chi and yoga enhance flexibility, balance, and coordination, which are vital to maintaining overall physical fitness. On the other hand, meditation and breathing exercises can effectively lower blood pressure and improve breathing, benefiting those managing conditions such as asthma or high blood pressure.
Get Enough Sleep
Quality sleep is crucial for veterans to maintain their overall health and well-being. Proper sleep plays a significant role in maintaining both physical and mental health. Aiming for sufficient sleep each night, typically around 7-9 hours for adults, is recommended.
To improve sleep quality, veterans can follow a regular sleep routine by adhering to consistent daily bedtimes and wake-up times, including weekends. Creating a sleep-friendly environment is also important. Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, and maintained at a comfortable temperature. Use curtains to block external light, consider using earplugs to minimize noise disturbances, and invest in comfortable mattresses and pillows.
Additionally, it’s helpful to create a pre-sleep routine to unwind and relax before bed. Avoid using electronic devices or doing intense physical exercise right before bedtime. Instead, engage in calming activities like reading a book, taking a warm bath, or meditating.
Staying hydrated is essential for veterans to maintain optimal health and well-being. Adequate hydration supports various bodily functions and promotes overall health. It is recommended to drink a sufficient amount of water (6-8) glasses throughout the day.
Water plays a vital role in improving physiological functions. It regulates body temperature, improves digestion, and lubricates joints. It also helps supply nutrients and oxygen to cells, flushes out toxins, and supports proper organ function.
By nurturing social connections, attending community events, joining veteran clubs or organizations, or simply reaching out to loved ones, veterans can develop a sense of belonging and support that positively impacts their overall well-being.
Maintaining strong social connections provides emotional support during challenging times, reduces feelings of isolation, and improves mental health.
Pursue Meaningful Activities
Indulging in meaningful activities is essential for veterans to stay engaged, fulfilled, and maintain a sense of purpose in their lives. Engaging in activities aligning with their interests, values, and skills offers numerous benefits for veterans. It provides a sense of accomplishment, boosts self-esteem, and enhances mental and emotional well-being. Moreover, they help promote physical fitness, stimulate cognitive abilities, and reduce stress levels.
For each veteran, the definition of meaningful activities may vary. It could involve volunteering for a cause they care about, pursuing hobbies, playing sports, or continuing education or professional development. The key is to find activities that bring joy, fulfillment, and a sense of purpose.
Maintaining physical, mental, and emotional well-being is crucial for veterans to lead fulfilling and balanced lives. By adopting these tips and incorporating them into daily routines, veterans can experience improved energy levels, reduced stress, enhanced mood, and increased resilience.
Remember, small changes can lead to significant improvements in overall well-being. And by taking care of yourself, you can continue to thrive and positively impact all aspects of your life. So, stay healthy, stay fit, and embrace the journey toward a fulfilling and vibrant future.