Maybe you’ve seen the headlines about Capt. Bob Kemna winning his own 7-Eleven franchise, or you read that American veterans brought home 17 medals from the World Games in South Korea. Possibly some of your friends have even traveled the country, or globe, during down time. Such opportunities are typically limited to those with rare talent or abundant funds, but joining the U.S. Armed Forces affords those advantages to every service person.
4 Tips to Help Veterans Stay Active
Outside the honor, benefits, and life training that accompany enlistment, is the prospect of partaking in events and experiences not regularly available to common citizens. Whether active duty or retired, there are plenty of ways for servicemen and women to get in on the action. Next time you’re looking to stay in shape, enjoy some camaraderie, or get your adrenaline pumping, try one of the following activities.
1. Join a Sports League
Maj. Linda Jeffery is a six-time golf champion. She’s also an individual mobilization Augmentee for the Air Force. For Jeffery and thousands of other military personnel, golf is the preferred sport to stay active and get in some relaxation. And thanks to a push to engage veterans and active-duty personnel, initiation is now a simple process. The PGA has developed their own program for veterans while the Department of Veterans Affairs recently contributed a $376,000 grant to winter sports organizations throughout the country.
Don’t miss out on discounts and free lessons being offered around America to active and retired military personnel. From basketball to skiing to golf, servicemen and women are getting involved in competition. Sure, picking up a hobby to stay in shape could lead to medaling at the World Games like Jeffery, but more likely, it will give you a chance to remain active and have some fun.
2. Shooting Competitions
So you like to shoot guns, and you like to win things? Sounds like you need to stock up on black powder rifles and gear and get in on NRA Black Powder Competition Shooting. What better way to enjoy nature than by shooting targets with old-timey-style muzzle-loaders. You could even land a spot on the U.S. International Muzzle-Loading Team.
Competition shooting is a great way to mesh your military training with sport. Target shooting can help you blow off steam from a tough day or give you the enthusiasm to face your next big challenge. Make new friends and spend time with old ones while you share common backgrounds and comical stories from your time as a U.S. Military member. From Alabama to Colorado, the NRA has you covered with dozens of states and dates on schedule for the 2016 circuit.
3. Exercise Regimens
There’s just no substitution for good old cardio. It may surprise you to learn that military members gain nearly three pounds per year around the time of discharge — and they generally don’t stop there. The good news is that simply maintaining the values instilled during your service will result in a healthy and functioning frame. Find a workout partner and recall your roots in the military to stay fit, or join a gym.
The results aren’t just physical though. Joining vets or active-duty partners for group exercise can result in forming strong bonds and boosting your communication skills. Endorphin levels are raised and progress is made, all while enjoying the company of a few buddies. Partake in military-inspired workouts like CrossFit, or create your own weight routine. You can even get back in your old groove with PT workouts detailed online. No matter which method you choose, staying in shape is an important aspect of post-military life.
Remember those discounts and perks? They extend to travel as well. Sightseeing with your loved ones is about as good as it gets. And, bonus, you can get in the best shape of your life by planning a few hikes and rock-climbing expeditions. Find a website to help you plan your trip or schedule something close to your home, just make sure you map out plenty of fun and physical activities. Your service entitles you to some savings while you puddle-jump to destinations most others only get to see in the movies.