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Tips for Veterans starting a new workout program

Starting a new workout program can be a fulfilling experience for Veterans eager to benefit their physical and mental health. Diving into a brand new exercise routine, however, should be done with consideration and care. Since military service places high physical demands on the body, many Veterans develop conditions either directly as a result of service or indirectly as a secondary condition. We're not saying you need to go run a marathon or anything – but a little movement a couple times per week can do a lot of good.

Whether you're brand new to fitness or getting back on a routine after a long break, these tips are important to keep in mind as you settle into a new workout program:

First things first…

Consult a trusted healthcare provider (either through the VA or independently). Remember: Checking in with a professional is the safest way to determine which exercises are going to be the best for your abilities.

Listen to your body

Don't overdo it. Pay attention to how your body feels – if something feels painful beyond normal muscle soreness, take a pause to reevaluate your workout and make any adjustments necessary before moving forward.

Research has shown that one in ten Veterans today were seriously injured at some point during their service, which can lead to long term changes in the body. Learning how to exercise in a way that supports your body (especially if you experience a condition or long term effects from an injury) involves a lot of paying attention.

Treat injuries right away

If something feels off, get a check up and treat any obvious injuries promptly. Sprains are the most common type of exercise-related injury, and the sooner you prioritize rest and recovery, the faster you will heal.

Veterans are an admirably strong group of people – known for pushing through tough times. Cut yourself some slack during a new workout program though; proper care is essential and should be prioritized at the first sign of injury. It'll help you maintain consistency in the long run, avoiding any longer term problems down the road.

Incorporate variety

Not only will it prevent boredom, incorporating variety also reduces injury risk and can boost your overall results. When beginning a new workout program, try to incorporate the following different types of exercise into your routine:

  • Strength training

  • Cardio

  • Flexibility

Modify your exercises accordingly

Veterans starting a new workout program should tailor their exercises based on their individual physical ability. It's important to understand the physics of body mechanics: all of our body movements are interconnected through the kinetic chain. Joints can become injured through compensatory movements (moving in a certain way to avoid pain in another part of the body). 

So, modifying your exercises to accommodate any limitations is the safest way to workout. Taking a personalized approach helps grow strength and confidence. If you're not sure how to do this, consulting a personal trainer is a great place to start. There's a lot to learn!

Is a service-connected condition or injury affecting your ability to exercise?

A solid and effective VA disability claim requires the right paperwork, assembled by medical experts. We can help with Nexus Letters, DBQs, chart reviews, and more. Sign up for a chart review and see what other services we offer. You don't have to do it alone; let our medical experts help you get exactly what you need for a successful claim.

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