This is how veterans can maintain their health

Dan Bornstein is this week’s special guest on The American Legion Tango Alpha Lima podcast, the second of a four-part special series on fitness and wellness for veterans.

Bornstein, who has over 20 years of experience in the health and wellness field, is the founding director of the Center for Performance, Readiness, Resiliency and Recovery at The Citadel. He addresses the importance of physical activity as we age, specifically for veterans, and strategies to maintain a healthy lifestyle. He also is the national chairman of the military sector of the U.S. National Physical Activity Plan.

Regular movements such as walking and gardening count as physical activity and can have a significant impact on one’s health, Bornstein advises. These movements can reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease, strokes, stress, anxiety and depression and symptoms of PTSD. “There are decades of research on the impact of physical activity, not necessarily structured exercise, that can have an impact on all those different health outcomes,” he said.

 So how much is recommended?

The CDC, Bornstein says, calls for 150 minutes a week of moderate activity (an easy walk, dancing or doing household chores), 75 minutes of more vigorous activity (tennis, swimming or running) or a combination of the two. “They all add up over the course of a week.”

Among other topics Bornstein addresses:

• How physical inactivity is affecting military recruiting, and in turn, our national security. “We have a problem.”

• Encouraging veterans who may be “adverse to physical activity,” given their military experience. “Get up and move around at every opportunity you have.”
• How a healthy lifestyle is a way to continue service by reducing the nation’s health-care costs. “As a veteran, if you want to continue to serve your country, one thing you can do is to maintain a healthy active lifestyle so that you are not contributing to the 16.9% of people who are costing this country so much money.”

The other three episodes in the fitness and wellness series feature:

Nov. 22, Rob Wilkins, an Air Force veteran and life member of The American Legion. Wilkins, who was named to the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition in 2018, discusses the importance of healthy living as we age, what he calls National Military Fitness & Wellness Month, which is November, and the importance for all veterans to remain active. Listen to the episode here.

Dec. 6, Jennifer Campbell, an American Legion member, Army veteran and fitness instructor. She offers tips on how to enjoy the holidays while remaining active and burning off calories.

Dec. 13, Dr. Trina Clayeux, who is married to a retired Air Force veteran. She launched her nonprofit organization, Give an Hour, in 2005. Give an Hour addresses the mental health needs of post-9/11 veterans by pairing them with counselors at no cost.

Check out this week’s podcast and the more than 150 Tango Alpha Lima episodes available in both audio and video formats here. You can also download episodes on iTunes, Google Play or other major podcast-hosting sites. The video version is available at the Legion’s YouTube channel.