Back to Top Skip to main content
Alert Arrow ALERT!!

There are emergency procedures in place due to Hurricane Michael.

Get the latest information on emergency prescription refills and referral waivers.

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...

Sticks and stones can break bones – and so can osteoporosis

Article
10/11/2018
Master Sgt. Kimberly Kaminski, 380th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron, flips a 445-pound tire during a workout at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates. Resistance training is just one of many steps to take to fight osteoporosis. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ross A. Whitley)

Steps to take today to build a future of healthy bones

Recommended Content:

Nutrition | Physical Activity | Women's Health

Swimming for good health: Just go with the flow

Article
9/6/2018
A midshipman participates in the 500-yard swim portion of a physical screening test as part of the explosive ordnance disposal summer cruise at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, Virginia. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Jeff Atherton)

Aquatic exercise is a low-impact alternative to running

Recommended Content:

Preventive Health | Physical Activity

Proper sleep hygiene as a force multiplier

Article
9/5/2018
The fact that properly resting personnel has multiple benefits across the spectrum of human performance and military readiness is undisputed. (U.S. Army photo by Master Sgt. Michel Sauret)

Sleep is cheap; it costs nothing to rest troops properly, with proven, immediately realized returns

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Sleep

Healthy sleep for healing

Article
8/7/2018
Sleep is an important factor in health. In addition to aiding in the healing of the body after injury, studies suggest that sleep can help boost the immune system, prevent disease, and ease depression. (U.S. Army photo by Lt. Col. John Hall)

We know how to treat bad sleep

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury | Sleep

Going the distance runs in the family

Article
6/14/2018
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

Article
4/9/2018
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

Article
4/6/2018
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

Article
3/7/2018
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

Article
3/5/2018
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

Article
2/1/2018
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

Article
1/2/2018
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

Article
12/26/2017
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

Article
12/19/2017
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

Article
10/16/2017
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

Article
10/4/2017
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
<< < 1 2 3 4 5 > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 5

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.