It is never too late to enjoy the benefits of physical activity. Meet Dick Belsheim, a 55-year-old Army Veteran from Hallsville, Mo. Dick’s senior division softball team recently took second place at the annual Show Me State Games. Dick decided to become more physically active when he gave up smoking 10 years ago. He says, “I needed a healthier way to deal with stress.” When he made the difficult decision to give up smoking after 30 years, he bought a home gym and started working out. He then joined a men’s softball team. He started playing basketball and baseball with his teenage son. Soon, physical activity became Dick’s new healthy habit.
Dick admits that sometimes it can be hard to stay motivated. He overcomes this by reminding himself of the benefits of being active. He says he has more energy, feels better about himself, and has more friends that he met by playing sports. He adds, “It’s a mental thing. You just have to want it more than you don't.”
Dick has advice for Veterans who think it is too late to get more physically active. He recommends breaking bad habits like watching too much TV, or using tobacco or alcohol to manage stress. He says, “sometimes you can make yourself feel older than you are. Don’t be embarrassed to start. See a doctor if you’re not sure. Be reasonable and consider what you can do, then do it!” Finally, he says to ask someone who is already physically active to help get you started. Get an activity buddy!
To learn more about getting physically active, visit the VA National Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention website.
Brought to you by the Health Promotion Disease Prevention Program