As a clinician, I spend a considerable amount of time evaluating and treating human performance and the degree to which we can push our bodies to perform dynamic, functional tasks. This is usually through evaluating and treating musculoskeletal injuries seen in long-distance runners, triathletes, cyclists, and soccer players with injuries. Recently, I have been fascinated with the rigors necessary to keep our military fit. Until May 2014 my experience with military personnel was limited to the handful of close friends I grew up with in Ithaca, NY.
I recently spoke to them and a few veterans I met through the organization Team RWB, which stands for Red, White and Blue about the importance of exercise in their lives. Much of their service, exercise has been an important part of life in order to be “military fit” and prepared for the various experiences they encountered. I posed this question to them;
– How long did you take once discharged from the military to start thinking about exercise?
Many of them responded that they never stopped thinking about exercise or working-out in one form or another after leaving the military. Once settled, they found ways to stay active by joining local gyms or organizations, such as RWB (which has chapters throughout the country) that would reinforce this and act as a constant in their lives. Interestingly enough, fitness became an even more integral part for many , allowing them to explore alternative forms of fitness. They attribute this adaptability as a result of their military training.
Being receptive to different forms of exercises and fitness has allowed many to use exercise as a way to reconnect with fellow service members but also to help control anxiety and some forms of depression or as one said, “feelings of change that creep up from time to time.”
Since joining the MoCo (Bethesda) of Team RWB, I have experienced just a small fraction of what it must be like to belong to a organization that looks out for one another, no matter what. In addition to meeting dynamic men and women with similar interests as mine, since connecting with Team RWB I have been rewarded with more friends and amazing experiences than I could have imagined. Thank you for welcoming me into “the fold” and I thank you all for your service and your willingness to connect with civilians. Go Team RWB! Happy Veterans Day!