May 8, 2014

As a veteran or active service member, you’re probably aware of the physical advantages of regular exercise. From weight loss and enhanced energy to a reduced risk of illnesses like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease; physical activity is extremely important to health and wellness. What’s more is that regular workouts can provide just as many benefits to emotional and psychological well-being. For example, of particular interest to veterans and service members, exercise can improve conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, and has been shown to promote healthier sleep patterns and enhance energy and productivity throughout the day. 

If you’ve recently returned to civilian life, and are interested in the benefits of regular physical activity, keep reading for tips on getting started, choosing the program that will best suit your needs, and much more!

 

Getting Started

A new fitness regimen can be an exciting prospect. Recognizing all the great benefits that lay ahead can be pretty inspiring, and can incite enthusiasm in even the most sedentary among us. However, too much enthusiasm can lead to overdoing it, which, in turn, can result in injury or burning out altogether. And while a desire to get fit and improve health is definitely a good thing, remember to start slow and listen to your body. Rest often, and be sure to get the proper hydration and nutrition. Cut back on refined sugars, starches and processed foods, and fill your plate with lean proteins, whole grains, fresh produce and healthy fats.

When it comes to protecting the body, the proper gear is essential. Shoes, for example, should provide plenty of support, fit properly and be designed for the specific activity you’ll be performing. Also, compression gear can offer tremendous advantages when it comes to circulation, joint stability and muscle function. For example, according to customer reviews, compression shirts ease back and shoulder pain, speed up post-workout recovery, and enhance athletic performance.

 

Choosing a Program

In order to experience all the great advantages of regular exercise, working out for at least thirty minutes, three or more times per week, is recommended. Plus, for maximum benefits, a good mix of cardiovascular exercise and strength training is necessary. That said, workouts like the following are designed to increase heart rate, while also strengthening, toning and sculpting.

  • Running. When it comes to cardio, running is king. Plus, runners build lots of lean muscle mass, especially in the lower body. If you’re a beginner, start with walking, and gradually work your way up to jogging, sprinting and running.
  • CrossFit. Combining high-intensity interval training, weight-lifting, plyometrics, gymnastics, competitive sports and more, CrossFit is a veritable melting pot of physical fitness. Here’s how it works: practitioners complete various sets of exercise in a set amount of time, and compete with other members on factors like strength, speed, endurance, etc.
  • Home fitness programs. If you prefer at-home workouts, programs like P90X or Insanity can help you get in the best shape of your life, without ever stepping foot into a gym. These home fitness programs are designed to provide benefits in a short amount of time, and have been proven to promote weight loss, build muscle mass and enhance overall health and quality of life.

 

Now that you know what exercise can do for you, it’s time to get started. While returning to civilian life can be difficult, regular physical activity can definitely help you along the way. Good luck on your journey to better health and a better life!

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