A new year can sometimes seem like an arbitrary time to suddenly begin to make drastic changes for personal improvement. However, making improvements in your health, lifestyle, and your overall wellbeing shouldn’t take a back seat to your busy life. Even if you hate New Years resolutions, there is no time like the present to get in shape and set up new healthy habits.

Veterans tend to suffer from chronic illnesses more often than civilians, so maintenance of your body through proper diet and exercise are vital. Here are a few tips to consider when debating whether or not you should embark on a journey to a better you.

Find the motivation

You were used to daily PT when you were in the military, but once you’re a civilian, life can often get in the ways. However, it is extremely important to set aside that 30 minutes each day to go for a run, lift weights, swim, or whatever you like doing.

Tip: Struggling to get back into things? Make a purchase! Visit your local sporting goods store and make a small investment into some new gear like workout clothes or shoes. This helps to motivate you to get out there and actually use your new stuff.

Mix it up

If you start to get bored with a routine, that’s normal! But, it might be time to change things up a bit. Do something else for a while. If you’re sick of that daily 3-mile jog, take up something else, like bike riding, hiking, swimming, or even joining a health club.

Keep a fitness journal

This is probably one of the most useful things you can do to keep yourself motivated. It might sound tedious, but it really isn’t. Keeping track of everything you accomplish is a great way to reward your brain and motivate you to keep going. Even counting your steps each day (might want to use a pedometer or a step-counter app for this!) is a great way to motivate yourself. It’s all about goals!

Stretch

I can’t emphasize this enough – make sure you stretch! Stretching can sometimes feel like a redundant activity that just prolongs a workout, but it helps to prevent injuries and it keeps you limber. Do each stretch for 20-3o seconds, and don’t cheat! You’ll be thankful in the long run. Even taking up yoga is a great thing for mind and body, so if you’re interested possibly doing yoga, go check out one of our grant recipients, Warriors at Ease! 

Go outside

Running like a hamster on a treadmill can be a repetitive and boring as it sounds. Go hiking, walk or jog around the block, venture through the woods, or take your dog to the park. The fresh air will help you feel rejuvenated.

Consider other alternatives

If you’re like me and hate the gym, or you don’t want to spend the unbelievable amount of money they’re probably going to charge you just to work out, there are other options.

There are many at-home workout DVDs you can do in the comfort your own home. These are often quick (30-45 minutes or less), convenient, and usually aren’t all that expensive. You can also do them more than once, which is nice. In addition, they even have streaming services for home workouts now, so you can keep things interesting!

Challenge yourself

Whatever you do in 2018 – make sure you are pushing yourself to get better each day! Get involved in some weekly PT challenges. Do what you have to do, but make sure you’re pushing yourself!

So get out there and make 2018 a year for the ages!