by guest contributor Lucy Wyndham
The transition to civilian life can be challenging for vets, but one setback they don’t often expect but often have to face, is weight gain. According to a recent study published in the International Journal of Obesity, vets gain between 2.2. And 2.9 pounds per year when they are discharged, which is double the amount gained by those on active duty.
Being aware of this tendency is vital in itself, since it can serve as motivation to not be just another statistic; to take the reins of your health and wellbeing by embracing a healthy lifestyle and diet. Of course, make sure to check out the many discounts on sporting and leisure activities which are available to vets, so you ensure you have fun while working on your fitness.
Increased Risks in Some Vets
For male and female vets, there are specific factors that can be considered risks for greater weight gain. These include having less educational qualifications, being overweight when discharge takes place, being in an active field within the military, and having experienced deployment with exposure to combat.
A Fitness Program for All Seasons
Although there are a wide variety of fitness options vets can choose from, the essential components of losing weight and keeping it off, include cardiovascular and strength training exercises. Interval training is also vital for those wishing to lose body fat. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends training five days a week, enjoying 150 minutes of moderate intensity cardio training and at least two strength training sessions a week.
Building muscle is an important way to increase your metabolic rate; at rest, a pound of muscle burns 250% more calories than a pound of fat. You don’t have to worry about building bulk; by lifting a moderate amount of weight, you should build enough muscle to give you a lean, fit look and keep obesity at bay.
Short but Intense
Interval training involves pushing yourself to peak intensity for a few seconds or minutes and cooling down with lower intensity activities, then repeating this cycle a set number of times. As noted by Time, “Working out in short, intense bursts can be just as good for your heart and muscles as longer endurance regimens.”
Interval training causes muscle cells to work more efficiently, and burns significantly more calories than a traditional cardio routine. One recent study presented at the American College of Sports Medicine’s Annual Meeting revealed that two weeks of high-intensity intervals improves one’s aerobic capacity as much as six to eight weeks of endurance workouts.
A Workout that Fits Your Lifestyle
You are much more likely to stick to a workout if it ignites your passion. If you haven’t been in the gym for a while, approach fitness calmly, obtaining prior medical approval and the help of a qualified trainer.
If you are into military-inspired workout programs, inquire about the suitability of CrossFit or Warrior Dash, which will push your endurance.
Your workouts don’t need to be centered around a specific plan, of course; if nothing ignites your passion like working out in the great outdoors, a run or brisk walk for around an hour a day will do plenty to boost your heart health.
If you have always found working out to be a chore, choose from a plethora of activities that wield powerful benefits despite seeming like a party (think dance, Zumba, or mountain biking); being open-minded to new activities is an ideal way to discover new hobbies.
If you have been in combat or you are facing stress, anxiety, or depression, making time for holistic practises such as yoga or Tai Chi, is a must; these activities are currently used as complementary therapies for a host of stress-related conditions (including substance abuse), since they have been proven in numerous studies to lower levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.
Staying fit after leaving the military is vital; if ever you lack the motivation to hit the gym or put on your trainers and head out for a jog, remember that your physical and mental health and wellbeing are intricately linked. Exercising regularly will improve your mood, keep stress down, and build your self-confidence, while helping keep heart disease and cancer at bay.