While your days of military or civil service may be over, your body still needs activity. Working your body keeps your mind sharp and improves your mood. Here are some exercises to boost your energy and fitness levels.
One of the easiest things to let slip after a highly disciplined career in the service is cardio. Now that you’re a civilian, cardio is a must-have in your workout regimen. A good cardio workout strengthens your heart and ramps up your metabolism, so you burn more calories and lower your risk of heart disease.
Take it easy on your knees by doing your cardiovascular workout on a recumbent bike, or simply by walking briskly. Cardio is about getting your blood pumping, so it doesn’t have to be high impact in order to be effective. Whatever you choose, try to get in around 15-20 minutes of cardio a day to stay in shape.
The years of wearing a vest and/or carrying gear certainly take their toll on your spine. Stretch out your lower back by doing spinal twists. Lie on your back on a yoga mat and bring your knees up to your chest. Then gently lower both knees to your right side while your shoulders remain flat on the mat. Lastly, lift your legs to center and lower them to the other side.
For added strengthening, an upward-downward dog yoga flow is excellent for stretching and toning your back.
Upper Body and Core
Push-ups might not be mandatory in civilian life, but it’s still important to keep your upper body strong. Rather than your typical push-up routine, try some plank exercises, which tone your arms, chest, core, and legs all at once.
Prop yourself up on your elbows with your legs straight out behind you. Look straight ahead and hold yourself in the plank position for 30 seconds, then drop your knees. Work your way up to a full minute. There are also plenty of variations of the plank to give you an additional challenge and work out different parts of your body.
It’s easy to accidentally hold your breath while planking, which makes the exercise more difficult. Remember to breathe!
For your legs and lower body, you can’t go wrong with squats. These will help keep your hamstrings, glutes and quads strong and toned in the absence of the physical activity that service entails. First try your squats weight-free, then add dumbbells or barbells as your strength level allows.
Start in a standing position with your feet hip-width apart, then lower your rear end toward the floor, making sure that your knees go down to a 90-degree angle. Hold for a moment, then return to standing and repeat.
Though retirement means a less physical daily routine, you can still stay in shape by implementing these simple exercises into a workout regimen. Add in dumbbells, resistance bands or other means of increasing the difficulty, and you’ll keep your body in top-notch condition.
At Warriors Heart, we believe that the health of the Warrior is paramount. Keeping body and mind healthy is crucial to laying the foundation of a fulfilling life. Contact us for more information.