Back to Top Skip to main content

Essentials for workout motivation: Personalizing activities and socializing

People participate in a Zumba class dance – a Latin-inspired workout that helps burn calories while dancing. People participate in a Zumba class dance – a Latin-inspired workout that helps burn calories while dancing. Group exercises, such as the one above, can help people be motivated to work out in fun ways (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kiana Brothers)

Recommended Content:

Physical Activity | Sleep

The benefits of physical exercise are undeniable, but for retired and separated military members who no longer must comply with physical fitness standards, finding motivation to work out can be tough. Before jumping into any workout plan, it’s important to consider why you want to work out, what your goals are and any possible challenges that may prevent you from completing them. Military Health System experts say that identifying what drives you is essential to being motivated and achieving your fitness goals.

Army Capt. Lakesha Williams, a public health nurse at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital in northern Virginia, said motivation levels can be affected by priorities, life events and the length of time a person has been away from military duty.

“When you’ve decided to initiate this lifestyle change, the next step is to make an appointment with a primary care provider for a health assessment and clearance, especially if you have a pre-existing medical condition,” said Williams, stressing that safety in a fitness program is first and foremost.

Those who are beginning a new workout regimen should start gradually and build momentum. Joining a gym or an exercise program can add a social element to your regimen, while alternating routines helps prevent boredom and music can be a resource for support, said Williams. The combination of all three can provide a productive environment toward your fitness goals.

Army Col. Robert Oh, chief medical officer at Martin Army Community Hospital, Fort Benning, Georgia, said having an accountability partner really increases motivation to remain committed to exercise and can replicate what a lot of people miss about their military service. Many gyms offer various types of group exercise classes, which can be a starting point for those looking to boost their energy levels.

“We’re social beings [and] exercising and doing activities with others can make it all that much easier,” said Oh, stressing that any type of physical activity can help improve health. Developing S.M.A.R.T. goals –specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound – also helps a person stay on track, he said.

Exercise, good nutrition and adequate sleep are essential for good overall health and motivation. Planning ahead can contribute in a major way to healthy aging and improved quality of life.

 “The culture is changing,” said Oh. "Quality, restorative sleep and what you eat to fuel your body makes a difference on not only your mood but your desire to work out.”

Sleep deprivation is linked to increased risk of Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and high blood pressure. While the optimum amount of sleep can vary, most adults need seven to eight hours nightly. Adequate sleep is also necessary for muscle rebuilding and recovery.

“[Exercise] is not just about weight and it’s not just about fitness,” said Oh. “It’s really about health for life.”

You also may be interested in...

Going the distance runs in the family

Elisa Zwanenburg (left) and Al Richmond (right) engage in their favorite father-daughter activity, marathon running. (Courtesy photo by James Frank)

For this father/daughter team, running, and the Marine Corps principles that carry them, are in their blood

Recommended Content:

Mental Wellness | Physical Activity | Men's Health

Deep vein thrombosis: What you need to know

Jamia Bailey (center) with her parents, James and Pia, after she underwent a procedure in December at Tripler Army Medical Center, Hawaii, to help prevent deep vein thrombosis from recurring. DVT is a blood clot that forms in a vein deep inside the body. (Courtesy photo)

Everyone’s potentially at risk, vascular surgeon says

Recommended Content:

Public Health | Preventive Health | Heart Health | Physical Activity

Small changes, big results: Healthy lifestyle choices can make a difference for heart health

Dr. Jonathan Woodson, director of the Institute for Health System Innovation & Policy at Boston University, provides insight on the importance of heart health. From 2010 to 2016, Woodson served as the assistant secretary of Defense for Health Affairs. He is also a brigadier general in the United States Army Reserve. (Photo courtesy of Boston University)

Risk for heart disease, the number one killer of Americans every year, can be decreased through healthy lifestyle and nutrition choices

Recommended Content:

Heart Health | Nutrition | Physical Activity

Traumatic Brain Injury and the Art of Paddling

Collins enjoys stand-up paddle boarding for how it helps him with TBI. His service dog, Charlie, likes it too. (Courtesy Photo by U.S. Army Special Operations veteran Josh Collins)

A U.S. Army veteran’s recipe for embracing life after several TBIs

Recommended Content:

Mental Wellness | Hearing Loss | Men's Health | Physical Activity | Physical Disability | Posttraumatic Stress Disorder | Traumatic Brain Injury | Vision Loss

New DoD educational podcast series promotes better health

The Defense Health Agency’s instructional podcasts highlight health technology and offer tips, tools and techniques to help improve the lives of those in the military community.

The instructional podcasts highlight health technology and offer tips, tools and techniques to help improve the lives of those in the military community

Recommended Content:

Preventive Health | Sleep | Mental Wellness

Heart Health Month: Stopping the number-one killer

Going to the gym regularly can certainly improve heart health. So can taking a walk or using the stairs instead of the elevator. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Matthew Lancaster)

Learn about the small changes that can make a big difference in your overall health

Recommended Content:

Physical Activity | Heart Health

A new year, a new you: Take command of your health

The month of January provides a fresh opportunity to take command of your health and improve your physical and emotional health, job performance, and mission readiness. (Courtesy photo)

Meeting goals requires inspiration, commitment, action

Recommended Content:

Preventive Health | Physical Activity

Year in Review: Innovations aid warfighters, families

Blue light produced by smartphones and computer monitors interferes with the brain’s production of melatonin, the hormone that makes people sleepy. The Navy’s Bureau of Medicine is working on lens tinting to block blue light and enhance the sleep of service members. MHS announced this innovation among many others in 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo by Greg L. Davis)

MHS explores world-class solutions for beneficiaries

Recommended Content:

Military Health System Electronic Health Record | MHS GENESIS | Warrior Care | Medical Research and Development | Sleep

Let’s get moving: Physical therapy from a provider’s perspective

A career spent in the infantry coupled with an active lifestyle led to 12 knee surgeries for U.S. Army Gen. Robert B. Brown, Commanding General of U.S. Army Pacific. Shown here (center) greeting soldiers at the National Training Center Fort Irwin, Calif., Brown credits an effective physical therapy regimen for getting him back in the field. (U.S. Army Sgt. Michael Spandau)

Two providers and a former patient share insight into the role of physical therapists, as well as the benefits of seeking help and committing to a program

Recommended Content:

Physical Activity | Deployment Health

Sleepy teen? Military sleep specialist says help is available

Electronic devices play a significant role in keeping teenaged children from the sleep they need to remain healthy and productive. (Courtesy photo)

Sagging grades, behavior problems could point to sleep deprivation

Recommended Content:

Children's Health | Sleep

App helps Guard Soldiers prepare for physical fitness test

New app available through Guard Your Health will help Soldiers prepare for their physical fitness assessments. (U.S. Army photo)

Guard Your Health recently launched Guard Fit

Recommended Content:

Physical Activity | Technology | Health Readiness

Advice to young athletes: A variety of sports is the spice of life

Children participate in a sports clinic at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. The installation partnered with the YMCA of Pikes Peak Region to teach young athletes the fundamentals of baseball, gymnastics, soccer, and basketball. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff. Sgt. Wes Wright)

Young athletes who focus on one sport instead of sampling a variety are more likely to suffer overuse injuries

Recommended Content:

Children's Health | Physical Activity

Repetition, intensity can build a ‘recipe for injury’ during workouts

Avoiding any sudden increases in activity level, duration, load, and intensity can help prevent overuse injuries. Injuries can also happen as a result of technique errors, such as poor form during strength training exercises. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Robert Cloys)

Doing too much too soon, or too much of the same, can lead to overuse injuries but there are many ways people can prevent these injuries

Recommended Content:

Physical Activity | Preventive Health | Operation Live Well

Setting goals, logging miles: How to train for a running event

Runners participate in the Mulberry Island Half Marathon at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, in September 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Natasha Stannard)

Whether you’re training for a 5K or a full marathon, preparing properly takes more than just running

Recommended Content:

Physical Activity | Operation Live Well

Getting ZZZZs: Military sleep clinics keep troops on their toes by shutting their eyes

An Airman is hooked up to wires and a continuous positive air pressure mask in the 673d Medical Group Sleep Disorder Clinic at the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson Hospital, Alaska. The equipment monitors a patient's brain function, heart rate, temperature, breath, and movement. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christopher R. Morales)

Sleep is an important preventive health tool, and military sleep clinics help patients get the shut-eye they need

Recommended Content:

Preventive Health | Sleep | Operation Live Well
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 6

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.