Veterans serve their country for the most part of their lives. They deserve all the honor, pride, and appreciation in the world. However, when the military services are over, it becomes a hefty task to keep up with a regular lifestyle compared to the busy albeit tough one a veteran is used to. Anything from old injuries to certain mental conditions can impact a veteran’s life after the service. Therefore, it’s imperative that veterans engage in self-care and adopt a healthy lifestyle. Here are a few vital tips to help veterans stay healthy in the long run.
1. Get Routine Checkups:
As active military personnel, getting regular checkups is common, which also helps in identifying possible underlying conditions. But even though this luxury may not necessarily be available after retirement, getting regular medical checkups should not be avoided. Do not make the mistake of waiting for your condition to worsen. For instance, most of the weaponry used at the start of the 20th century in the US Navy contained asbestos. This harmful substance has been linked to a chronic disorder related to the lungs called mesothelioma.
Consistent and high-rated exposure to asbestos can increase the risk of contracting the disease. According to a study published in the International Journal of Radiation Biology in 2019, the Navy veteran mesothelioma mortality rate was much higher than in any other military branch. Diseases like mesothelioma don’t just happen overnight, it takes years of manifestation, and the end result is that until you find out, it’s already too late. Therefore, veterans should make it a habit to get annual medical checkups to detect issues before their condition worsens.
2. Stay On Top Of Your Injuries:
The severe working conditions in the military can cause both physical and mental strain after retirement. Many veterans tend to neglect their health and make the mistake of letting old injuries get the better of them. Most people tend to have greater resilience and patience for injuries and healing during their services. However, as soon as you hit your late thirties, the effects of those injuries can resurface.
The aches and pains can make a veteran’s life hell in their 50s. That’s why it’s essential to remember key injuries and adjust your lifestyle accordingly. For instance, sitting on a leg injury and gaining weight will worsen it over time; ignoring the signs of a back injury and putting strain on it will only make your life difficult. So, it’s essential to keep a watch for such injuries so that you can avoid new ones.
3. Eat A Healthy Diet:
Eating right isn’t just a useless trope, but it’s a crucial aspect of how we feel as well. Consuming an unhealthy amount of fat, sugar, and junk food can also negatively affect your mood. To feel and be right as a retired veteran, you must stay committed to a balanced diet. Shifting to a healthy diet is not a punishment, nor does it mean you need to give up on your pepperoni pizza and tuna casseroles. It’s all about making the right dietary choices and maintaining a balance.
For instance, your everyday meal can have a tasty blend of protein, some greens, and some dessert. You can even decide on a cheat day once in a while where you can enjoy a hearty day of eating a little bit of junk food. Unhealthy eating habits and activities like smoking and drinking can lead to heart disease and obesity.
4. Prioritize Mental Health:
Gone are the days when mental health was considered a taboo subject. There’s nothing stronger and more vulnerable than a person’s mind, and it should be in the best of condition for a happier and healthier life. Working on your mind should be your priority as a veteran because it’s hard navigating the after-effects of working in a stressful environment or situation during military service.
Veterans have a higher rate of suffering from PTSD than civilians. Therefore, it’s vital to keep your mental health in check, especially if you have a history in this regard. Never be afraid to reach out for help, whether it’s personal or professional.
5. Try Workouts and Meditation:
A balanced mind and body is the key to a healthy life. As a veteran, you must be accustomed to enduring intense physical training. That’s why it wouldn’t hurt to bring in a little physical activity in your routine even after you retire. You are more likely to feel energized and happy if you exercise daily, even if it’s something as simple as going out for a morning walk every day. We recommend incorporating a few cardio exercises, jogging, and swimming if you’re up for it. But the important thing is not to push your body beyond a certain limit by indulging in aggressive physical activities.
Try balancing your workout routine with a little meditation. For instance, yoga is an extremely effective way of tapping into your mind and body and relaxing them. It not only calms the mind but also strengthens it. Simple techniques, like deep breathing exercises, can reduce the risk of depression and anxiety.
6. Stay Connected With Support Networks:
Being independent and self-sustaining is good after retirement, but it never hurts to reach out for a helping hand when the going gets tough. Staying connected to a support network, whether it’s your friends, family, or even fellow veterans, is a great way to cope when you’re feeling under the weather or need someone to open up to. Also, several organizations are dedicated to supporting veterans, like the Veterans Affairs (VA), Veterans of Foreign Wars, and more. It’s important to acknowledge when you need help, whether it’s emotional or medical.
Retirement may not be everyone’s cup of tea, especially if you’re someone who has always been in the middle of the action. As a veteran, it’s imperative that you keep the streak going and maintain the same healthy lifestyle that you may have had during your military service. Regular checkups, exercise, a healthy diet, and a close circuit of important people are essential for a healthy life. The above tips will aid you in getting yourself in top-notch condition.