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How do the physical demands of military service affect the body compared to civilian life?

A career in the military places extra physical demands on the body compared to many (not all, of course) civilian job sectors. Active service members need both strength and endurance, and are expected to maintain their physical fitness to be ready for any and all duties. While there are countless benefits of exercising, years of the military service lifestyle can become hard on the body for a variety of different reasons.


Here are 4 ways the physical demands of military service affect the body, compared to many civilian careers:


Increased risk for injury

Statistics show that almost 50% of military service members experience 1 or more injury per year – most of which are related to overuse strains, sprains, and stress fractures. Sudden incidents, coupled with chronic overuse, are common in the military, which explains why many Veterans end up with service-connected conditions. You can prove these injuries are connected to your service with the right documentation (scroll to the bottom for how we can help).


Repeated exposure to harsh environments

Depending on the role within the military, service members may be exposed to harsh environments while on active duty, and especially deployment. Extreme weather – including the elements and altitude – can impact the body. For example: extreme heat can cause exhaustion, heat stroke, and also increase risk for heart-related conditions.


Compromised sleep quality and volume

Early wake up times and long, demanding hours that members of the military commonly experience can add up and take a toll when it becomes a pattern over time. Not only does the quality of sleep affect our mental health, it also compromises the body’s ability to physically heal and recover from exertion. The hormones released during sleep are vital in repairing cells and keeping us healthy.


High intensity movements and activities

Whether parachuting out of a plane or intensely training for combat, a career in the military is full of high-impact activities, many of which are very physically demanding of the body. As we mentioned – physical activity is so important for living a healthy life, but the ongoing strain from frequent high intensity movement has the potential to increase strain and cause issues down the road.


Experiencing health problems? Get support now

If you’re a Veteran struggling with health conditions as a result of your military service, you’re not alone. We’re here to make sure you get the right care. To review our full list of services, visit our services page. Sign up for an expert chart review here whenever you are ready to get started.




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