Due to obvious reasons, navy personnel are trained to be more physically fit than the average citizen. After all, they are responsible for protecting the nation and its interests. However, once navy professionals step into civilian life, their fitness levels might start declining, especially if they are negligent of their health.
They put themselves at risk of various physical health issues, including weight gain, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. In addition, navy veterans might also deal with several mental health challenges, particularly those who served in conflict-ridden zones. But the good news is that they can lead a healthy lifestyle by taking a few simple measures. Keep reading to know more:
Get Regular Health Check-Ups
Veterans of the United States Navy undergo health issues that make routine medical examinations all the more critical. Take the example of asbestos exposure. Asbestos was widely used in naval ships and submarines for its fire-resistant and insulating properties. However, prolonged asbestos exposure is the biggest reason behind growing cases of mesothelioma in Navy veterans. If you worked in shipyards, engine rooms, or boiler rooms, you are particularly at risk of developing this condition.
With regular check-ups, experts can detect the signs of mesothelioma and provide adequate treatment accordingly. Those who have already developed mesothelioma might benefit from taking help from organizations like Mesothelioma Hope. These professionals assist Navy veteran mesothelioma victims in applying for VA benefits, such as monthly payments and free health care.
Stay Physically Active
During their service, a typical day for a Navy professional could involve rigorous physical training, maintenance of equipment, and engaging in strenuous duties at sea. However, once they retire or leave active duty, the structure and physical demands of military life often diminish. Many Navy veterans may find themselves working desk jobs or pursuing careers that do not require the same level of physical exertion. This shift leads to a decrease in physical activity.
If you want to stay fit in the long run, you must prioritize physical activity. It enhances mobility, flexibility, and balance, reducing the risk of falls among older individuals. For veterans who may have experienced physical strain during their service, staying active can also keep chronic pain, heart disease, and musculoskeletal issues at bay.
Moreover, engaging in physical activity boosts mental health. Group activities such as team sports, fitness classes, or a regular workout at the gym create a sense of community. These social connections aid emotional well-being and combat the feeling of isolation.
When starting, go with small targets and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts. Remember, exercising once in a while will not cut it. You will have to be consistent to get good results.
Practice Good Dental Hygiene
Dental problems can worsen over time if left untreated. Preventive dental care helps Navy veterans avoid more extensive and expensive treatments down the road, ensuring their long-term oral health. Moreover, poor dental hygiene has also been associated with various health conditions, such as diabetes and respiratory infections. Bacteria from the mouth could enter the bloodstream and potentially contribute to inflammation and other health problems. Therefore, taking care of your teeth and gums is not just about having a healthy smile; it is about having a healthy body.
Brushing regularly is the best way to optimize your dental hygiene. Ideally, you should brush your teeth at least twice a day to remove plaque and food particles that might lead to tooth decay and gum disease. We strongly recommend using fluoride toothpaste because it strengthens tooth enamel and prevents cavities.
Flossing is equally important as well. It cleans areas that could be inaccessible for the brush. Flossing once a day, preferably right before bed, is usually enough to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Apart from frequency, effective flossing requires the right technique. When you floss, you should guide the floss carefully between your teeth with a sliding motion, make a C-shape, and then move it up and down your teeth with caution.
Get Enough Sleep
Navy veterans may carry the burden of traumatic experiences and high-stress situations from their service. They result in conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression. Insufficient sleep could exacerbate these symptoms. Moreover, Navy veterans transitioning to civilian life may face new obstacles. Depending on each individual, these might include searching for a job or continuing education. A well-rested mind is better equipped to navigate these challenges successfully and stay on top of cognitive performance.
One way to get adequate sleep is to establish a bedtime routine. It balances the internal clock of your body, making it easier for you to fall asleep and wake up at a specific time. For example, if you go to bed at 10:00 PM and wake up at 6:00 AM every day, your body will gradually adapt to this routine.
Also, veterans should be mindful of their screen time, especially in the evening. The blue light emitted by smartphones, computers, and laptops could interfere with the body’s production of melatonin, which is responsible for regulating sleep. As a rule of thumb, staying away from screens at least an hour before bedtime leads to quality sleep.
Eat A Balanced Diet
Navy professionals may have been subjected to irregular meal schedules and processed meals. Even after leaving the Navy, these habits usually persist. However, it is never too late to start eating a balanced diet.
A balanced diet includes a variety of food groups, such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats. It ensures you consume a diverse intake of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These nutrients pave the way for a host of benefits, including energy production, weight management, and maintenance of healthy tissues. Additionally, balanced blood sugar levels from a balanced diet can help stabilize mood and keep mood swings in check.
Meal prepping is a great way to follow a balanced diet. By preparing meals at home, you can select ingredients that align with your nutritional goals. This is particularly important for veterans who might have specific dietary restrictions or health concerns.
Navy veterans envision making the most of their post-service years. Unfortunately, it does not take too long before health issues surface and spoil the dream of living a fulfilling life. But the good news is that you can maintain a healthy lifestyle by incorporating these small changes in your routine. You’ve served your country well, and now it’s time to take care of yourself!